Community Education Efforts
Last year our year-end community appeal was for support so HSS could provide several community education programs. Education programs are usually not reimbursable from health insurance and since we did not want to have to charge fees to individuals that wanted to attend the programs, community funding was sought.
Thankfully, we were successful in our appeal and several programs were offered during this year including Mental Health First Aid. This program is an 8-hour course that teaches untrained persons how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It gives participants the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis. We were able to offer sessions to members of the public and to our own staff. We expect to continue providing this training throughout the next year.
Another program offered was Second Chances, an early intervention program for teens and parents on substance use. This six-week series addresses how to understand teenage behavior, how to communicate with teens and what to do if there is experimentation with drugs or alcohol. We have been able to host two cycles of this program and anticipate offering it again in the near future.
HSS also was able to offer a parenting skills program named STEP, an acronym for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting. This four-session class was directed at families with school-age children. HSS provided the staff and the YMCA Columbia hosted the classes. This class will be also repeated in the near future.