Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, or Is it?

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For many this is the time of year they feel the worst! The every day darkness just looms over them even more so. You or I, at times, may not be able to understand that a person siting it a room full of people to love and care for them can feel all alone.

Monday was Scott and my quarterly meeting with the California Suicide Prevention Network for our region which includes Ventura, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, and Kern Counties. We have been stake holders in this group for almost two years now. We are getting to see (and have a say in) what our government does with our tax dollars for mental health and suicide prevention

Well, part of our tax dollars any way. Two years ago, I have to say, I would walk away from these meetings shaking my head without much understanding of how we could make a difference in the greater world of government and mental health. We would hear of the grants and the monies given to study what program would be most helpful at the UC’s. Thousands of dollars to study what might help? I didn’t understand, being someone trained in a program that has been proven effective for 30 years in many countries.

We kept going and making our voices heard. The voice of the every day person that all of the services are meant for. Don’t get me wrong, we did not come up with any great plan or idea, they have marketing and numbers people that know more then me who did all of that work.

Have you seen the bill boards or the bus ads for “Know the Signs”? That is something that came from groups like this in California. The great thing about that program is it belongs to all of us. That’s right, each and everyone of you who have a passion to help stop or prevent suicide can go on suicideispreventable.org and download the info in English or in Spanish. Plus, your voice counts, this is a gold mine of media resources that the state of California has already come up with! They spent the money to see what would look good, we now have the rights to use it. It can be customized to your area with your info, all you have to do is the printing.  

There is a brand new program out there for all of you who love your apps on your smart phones. Say you are someone that is at-risk of suicide and you need some help; MY3 is a safety plan mobile app that connects users directly to their support network and a crisis hotline for 24-hour support. Check it out and download it today.

One of my favorite things that came out of the last two years is a statewide contest for high schools called Directing Change. It encourages high school students to create 60-second videos about Suicide Prevention or Ending the Stigma of Mental Illness.  You can view last years videos at www.directingchange.org and find out how you can enter this year, the deadline is February, 1 2014.

Sorry, you do have to be in high school and from California to enter, but anyone can watch what these great kids came up with.

So, just wanted to give you an update of some of the great things that are happening around the state with your tax dollars and suicide prevention.  

Scott and I plan on having an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) in January, we have not set the date as of yet. So if you are interested in that class let me know.

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