Problem: Mental health and substance abuse are on the rise in our community. Alaska in particular has the 2nd highest rate of suicide rate in the United States. Substance abuse can ruin a person's chances at success and tear families apart. On the Kenai Peninsula we've seen increases in children placed in foster care, individuals going to prison, and extreme poverty including homelessness because of their battle with addiction. Often times people experiencing these challenges do not seek help because of the societal stigma associated with mental illness and addiction, or because they don't know where to find help.
Solution: A large part of helping individuals experiencing mental illness or suffering from addiction take better care of themselves is to recognize their struggles and get them the help they need. Our club would like to help members of our community become more understanding and aware of how to help these individuals by providing a free community Mental Health First Aid training. Mental Health First Aid is a one day long course that teaches attendees how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of addiction and mental illness. I've spoken to our local community health organization who said that this training would be very beneficial to our community.
Timeline: We have already located a certified Mental Health First Aid trainer from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Currently we're working with them to schedule an exact training date depending on their schedule and our local community calendar. Currently we are planning on hosting the training in September or October 2018 at the Soldotna Public Library. As club president I will schedule the training, assist the trainer with their travel arrangements, reserve the meeting space, register participants, and publicize the event through radio, newspaper, email, in person, and social media. I will begin all of this as soon as grants are awarded. Our club members will also help publicize the event through word of mouth and posting flyers around town. They will help set up and clean up for the event and will provide light refreshments.
Cost of travel, per diem, and the course for up to 30 people: $1,500