In order to increase awareness about the facts and warning signs of suicide, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine in Pennsylvania is teaming up with the Suicide Prevention Alliance to provide free suicide prevention training to the community for National Suicide Prevention Week.
The Lionville YMCA will host Govan A. Martin III, the executive director and founder of the Suicide Prevention Alliance. The event is intentionally planned ahead of National Suicide Prevention Week which is September 10-16. Martin will train participants to recognize the warning signs of suicide and how to get those in need connected to life-saving resources.
Being Part of the Solution
“As a community hub dedicated to offering programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body, we are moved to educate ourselves and our community about steps that can be taken to prevent deaths by suicide,” said Andrew Holets, the executive director of the Lionville Community YMCA branch. “Every day, we hear about the mental health crisis that our nation is facing. It’s not just national; it also affects us locally.”
Both Holets and Bertram L. Lawson II, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Brandywine, emphasized the need for awareness of issues surrounding mental health.
This program will help those who need help supporting a loved one or be a part in the education of those who want to learn more about suicide prevention. Along with addressing the need for more education about these topics, they hope this program brings the community together.
Bridging Across Barriers
“Mental health is for everyone. It cuts across all ages, abilities, races, genders — truly all people,” said Lawson. “Yet, there are not nearly enough resources to help all in our community.”
The issues surrounding mental health are complex and numerous. Therefore, Lawson recommended identifying a specific area and finding an expert to speak about it. It’s best to provide education on issues that are relevant to your community, which local government officials and community leaders can help you identify.
The expert should be qualified or knowledgeable about the topic. They can be a staff member or someone from a specialized organization. Additionally, any national days or weeks of awareness for certain issues are also a great way to tie programming into the larger picture.
“We’re grateful for the important work of the Suicide Prevention Alliance and are proud to offer this free and life-saving training to the community,” said Holets.
Continuously Promoting Mental Health
Along with the educational component, the YMCA of Greater Brandywine implements other programming focused on promoting mental health in a multi-faceted way.
“Our Mind-Body group exercise offerings focus on mindfulness – teaching participants to slow down, focus on breathing, and be present,” explained Lawson. “Getting more people through our doors, connected with other members and attending our programs on a regular basis reduces social isolation.”
Above all, it’s important to offer relevant programming that will be useful for participants with their well-being in mind. Mental health is an issue that can affect entire communities. By implementing this type of programming and education, you can bridge the gaps between groups including between rec center leadership and members.
By giving a designated space to talk about why these conversations are needed, it can improve the overall health of your community and encourage participation from a variety of groups.
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