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Jan. 8 sheds light on need for understanding mental health

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Jan. 8 sheds light on need for understanding mental health

CPSA first-aid training helps educate county residents on how to help

Mental health-related issues have been a rising concern in the Tucson community since the Jan. 8 shootings.

To clear up common misconceptions, and to educate people on how to help someone who is showing signs of mental illness, the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona offers free training to county residents.

Since the shooting, more than 560 Pima County residents have taken advantage of the training.

Most people said they feel more comfortable and confident in recognizing and aiding people with mental health problems after the training, said Pam Parrish, CPSA’s public relations coordinator, in an interview Thursday.

People who want to receive the training can sign up for the classes online, Parrish said.

“Classes fill up quickly,” she said.

CPSA also has trained 18 new mental health first-aid instructors in Pima County since Jan. 8.

Mental health first aid is a national program, but has been used sporadically, said CPSA president and CEO Neal Cash.

Jan. 8 showed how important it is for people to understand what resources are available, Cash said.

CPSA has offered 29 people mental health first-aid training since the shooting, according to a CPSA press release.

More than 600 people have been certified in mental health first aid, and now have a greater understanding of the signs and symptoms and how to help people who are having mental health problems, Cash said.

CPSA also opened a Crisis Response Center Aug. 15 where patients can be assessed and find help.

Roughly 4,000 people have been provided with crisis care since its opening, according to the press release.

The CRC is taking up to 10,000 calls a month, and is a safe place for law enforcement to take people who are in need, Cash said.

It is important for people to understand that mental illness is treatable, Cash said.

Some don’t want to reach out because of the stigma attached to mental illness, but this needs to change, he added.

“The CRC is set up to make sure that we have a service that is set up for people that aren’t enrolled in the system because of lack of money,” he said.

Mental Health Resources

Tucson Tragedy Support Line

An anonymous support line available at no cost to anyone in Pima County who is struggling to deal with their reaction to the anniversary of Jan. 8, or who wants information on how to help themselves or others cope. Staff at this number also will provide referrals to community behavioral healthcare providers.
284-3517 or (800) 796-6762

Communitywide crisis line

Anonymous helpline available 24/7 for anyone experiencing serious emotional distress. Crisis line staff have the latest information on what crisis services are available. 622-6000 or (800) 796-6762
Hearing impaired individuals can call the TTY line at 284-3500 or (888) 248-5998.

Walk-in behavioral health crisis services

  • Crisis Response Center, 2802 E. District St. (Just south of Ajo Way and Country Club Road)
  • SAMHC, 2502 N. Dodge Blvd. (Enter from Flower Street, north of Grant Road)

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