Legion Meeting Jan 10

GIRLS STATE PRESENTATION - Rachel Porter, Saluda High student was the key note speaker at the January American Legion Post 65 meeting.  She shared experiences from the 2018 American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program that was held at Presbyterian College, June 10-16. She fielded questions from the Legionaries following her presentation. The American Legion Auxiliary Girls State is a nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country.  High school girls, having completed their junior year spend an intensive week of study, working together as self-governing citizens at Girls State. At the encampment, they learn how to participate in the functioning of South Carolina’s government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens. Pictured left to right:  Grandmother, Daisy Porter; Mother, Melissa Porter; Girls State Citizen Rachel Porter, Auxiliary President; Linda Padgett, and Past Post Commander Al Butler. Girls Staters unable to attend: Gracelyn Metts, King Academy; Bailey Chariker and Kaylyn Herlong; Saluda High School.

Westview Offers First Aid,
Strength for Families

  “This is powerful stuff and it is saving lives,” said U.S. Army veteran and Mental Health First Aider Toushe Paxton-Barnes. “So many people are out there wishing for something better, hoping that help will show up.”
  Westview has received a Mental Health First Aid grant to expand programming to train local community members in identifying mental health issues in youth and adults and then making referrals to appropriate providers.  This program is funded through a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and under the program, Westview provide services across a seven-county area of the midlands and piedmont.
  “We started with the Youth Mental Health First Aid program in Newberry and Saluda three years ago and had such a great response that we knew we had to do more,” said Hugh Gray, executive director of Westview. “We are expanding, not only the scope of our service area, but also the age group we serve. This new grant will provide training for community members who work with 18-25 year olds, in addition to those who work with youth.”
  Mental Health First Aid is 8-hour mental health literacy program trains laypeople to recognize the signs and symptoms of behavioral health problems and crises, ways to support those who are facing a crisis, and where to refer for appropriate professional care.
  Participants are trained to detect and respond to mental illness, to assess for risk, to actively listen, how to provide reassurance and support, and to connect those who are at risk with the appropriate professional services.
  Just over 20 percent of the population will experience a serious mental disorder.  Seventy percent of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20 percent live with a severe mental illness.   As more people, and particularly youth, experience mental distress, there is a need for increased mental health literacy and basic mental health training for the public.
  Ingrid Donato, former Chief of the Mental Health Promotion Branch in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), likened the program to physical health first aid. Instead of helping people understand how to identify the signs of a heart attack or to stabilize a broken bone, they are taught how to identify and triage behavioral health issues.
  “The goal is to train as many people as we can in Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid,” Gray said. “We want to not only reach the teachers, we want to get the school bus drivers, we want to get the juvenile justice folks, the police, the firefighters, the nurses — anyone who comes into contact with children. We want everyone to be able to understand when a child is in distress and to be able to understand how to appropriately intervene and provide support.”
  “That’s what Mental Health First Aid is – it is help to get people connected to care and ultimately to get them to a better place,” said Paxton-Barnes. “Just like CPR is mandatory in many settings, I absolutely believe that Mental Health First Aid should be required for our boots-on-the ground community leaders, like teachers and law enforcement officials, to be able to recognize mental illness and substance abuse.”
  For more information on participating in the Youth  or Adult Mental Health First Aid training offered by Westview, contact Krissi Raines at 276-5690.
  Much like Project AWARE does for youth, Westview’s Empowering Families program tries to connect families with services. A new endeavor of the Empowering Families program is set to kick off this spring and is called Strengthening Families.
Strengthening Families is a nationally and internationally recognized parenting and family-strengthening program. The program is evidence-based and grows family skills to significantly reduce problem behaviors, delinquency, and alcohol and drug abuse in children. The program is also designed to improve social competencies and school performance. Child maltreatment also decreases as parents strengthen bonds with their children and learn more effective parenting skills.
  Through a series of family meetings, participants are exposed to science-based parenting skills, children’s life skills, and family life skills training specifically designed for at-risk families. The program is focused on children ages 6 – 11.
  The Strengthening Families Program courses are delivered in 14 sessions (2 ½ hours each). Typically, the sessions are preceded by a meal that includes informal family practice time and group leader coaching. Each group may include up to 14 families. During each session, participants gather in three groups: parents, children, and then come together as a family. The sessions will focus on developing positive family strengths, teaching families how to stay resilient, improving parenting skills, decreasing the use of corporal punishment, reducing family conflict and reducing parent drug use. The program will also help children with social skills and relationships.
  For more information about participation in the Strengthening Families Initiative, contact Linda Gault at 276-5690.