MHA is offering a free two-day training on suicide prevention – called ASIST – on June 2 and 3, 2015

For immediate release

Event:   Suicide Prevention Training June 2nd and 3rd

Contact: Sonia Wagner, Mental Health Association of Rockland, 845-267-2172, x323

The Mental Health Association of Rockland is offering a free two-day, highly interactive training on suicide prevention, called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), to the general community on June 2nd and 3rd from 9am to 5pm (registration at 8:30am), with breakfast and lunch provided.

Through video, lecture, and roleplaying, participants will learn how to engage a person who has suicidal thoughts, help them to develop a safety plan, and connect them to additional supports if necessary.

“It is a kind of CPR class for suicide prevention,” said Sonia Wagner, executive vice president of the Mental Health Association.  “So often people are afraid to ask a loved one about suicidal thinking.   In fact, we find that a person who is thinking about suicide is generally relieved to discuss it and grateful that someone cared enough to ask.”

ASIST training has been delivered to over 500,000 people in more than ten countries.

The ASIST training will be offered at the Mental Health Association in Valley Cottage.  To register, please call the Association at 845-267-2172, x320.

My Friend’s Depression is not Going Away. What Should I Do?

It is hard to see a friend you care about sink into sadness or withdrawal and to not know what to say or do to help. Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects 1 out of every 10 people over their lifetime. It causes tremendous pain for the individual suffering from depression and the people close to them too.

The first step to help is to understand. Depression is not feeling blue for a week or two, but is more intense and lasts longer. The signs and symptoms of depression are different for each person, but can include the following:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, irritable or excessively crying without an apparent cause
  • Losing interest in activities that you had enjoyed in the past
  • Losing or gaining weight unintentionally
  • Sleeping poorly or oversleeping
  • Having less energy or feeling lethargic
  • Having persistent feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Having trouble making decisions or concentrating
  • Having thoughts of suicide or death
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs

Depression affects a person’s attitude and beliefs. When a depressed individual says “no one cares for me” or “nothing will ever change”, these comments need to be viewed as symptoms of their depression.

Remember that depressed people aren’t lazy. They are ill. Everyday activities like going to work or school, cleaning the house, paying bills or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming to them. Just like someone with the flu they may not feel up to it and need your help.

Your friend may not recognize that they are depressed or they may feel that they can “tough it out” or overcome what they are feeling by willpower alone. As a friend the best thing for you to do is to listen to them, provide hope and to be there for your friend. It is generally not helpful to give advice or to suggest that they “can snap out of it” or try to “fix” them. If your friend expresses that they are not depressed or don’t need your help, don’t push them to acknowledge their problem, but instead continue to keep in touch with them.

If your friend is currently receiving professional help, support their treatment, and if they had not sought help, suggest that they seek help by a mental health professional. Most people suffering from depression can be treated by psychotherapy or a combination of psychotherapy and medication. If they do not begin to improve within 6 to 8 weeks, suggest that they speak with their doctor or another mental health provider for a consultation.

If your friend begins to express any hints about harming themselves or others, you should contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Trying to help someone who is depressed can be draining and stressful for you so remember that you didn’t cause the depression and it is also important to take care of your own emotional health.

For more information about community resources, call MHA’s Client and Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, ext. 296.

Jerry Marton, L.C.S.W.

ACT Team Leader

ACT offers a team-approach that engages people in their communities – providing much of the support and care in people’s homes and neighborhoods.  The program is designed for individuals who have not found enough success in more traditional settings.