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Two Harbors’ Lake View Hospital Offers Free Mental Health Training

Talking about mental health isn’t always easy, which is one reason why it is important that we do. When someone confides in us that they are struggling, an opportunity presents itself to be of support. But many of us may not know the right things to say or the right things to do. We want to be there for our family mem­bers, friends, and neighbors, but we may not know the best ways to do so.

As part of the “Be There In 2024” campaign, Lake View Hospital’s Community Outreach program is offering free mental health train­ing that will help community members learn strategies to “be there” for those who may need some help. “People persons,” good listeners, and those who may have key roles in the area are invited to attend.

Rachel Gischia, Manager of Community Outreach and Emergency Preparedness at Lake View, personally invited all the area restaurants to send servers and bartenders to the training and reached out to all of the salons. The li­censed occupational therapist, who has worked for the hospital for twenty-one years, also con­tacted churches and community businesses with the aim of creating an internal network of people who may be able to intervene before a mental health need becomes a mental health crisis.

The response has surpassed Rachel’s expec­tations. At the time of our interview, forty peo­ple from all walks of life, had already enrolled. “The variety of people that have signed up so far is amazing,” Rachel said. There’s a good chance the class is filling up because many of us know that there are a lot of people out there who may need support.

“We see people have struggled since the pan­demic. We see it in our emergency department,” Rachel said. “We hear about it through our schools and public health.”

The Community Outreach program has of­fered QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training in the past. “It’s like CPR for mental health,” Rachel explained. “It’s a class to empower the everyday person to ask the right questions and give the right resources.”

As QPR is geared towards suicide prevention and crisis situations, Lake View’s program saw the need to expand the scope of the training to include more preventative measures.

“Instead of being committed to the evidence-based QPR curriculum, we asked the instructor to go a little off-cuff and develop something for us that would be targeted at the everyday per­son,” Rachel said. “Some people think they ar­en’t in crisis, so they don’t need help. But that doesn’t mean they still couldn’t use support, a listener or somebody to give them resources in case things do escalate.”

Dr. Sarah Wells, MSW LISW, is a mental health therapist and educator who works at the College of St. Scholastica. She took on the chal­lenge of Lake View’s request and developed L.A.K.E., (Listen, Ask, Know, Encourage). The class will provide ways to be a better listener, best practices on what questions to ask some­one who may need help, ensure the participants know of resources available in the area and how to access them, and what to do to encour­age and follow up.

The free training, which is in-person only, will be held at the Lake View Conference Cen­ter in Two Harbors on Wednesday, February 7th, at three separate times:

  • 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
  • 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
  • 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM

The training is sponsored by a grant from Co­operative Light & Power’s Round Up program. A stipend was offered for the first twenty-five participants to enroll, in an effort to make up for lost wages while attending the training. With the tremendous response to communi­ty enrollment, those registering going forward will not be eligible.

Rachel encourages all those interested to attend. Future offerings will be based on feed­back from those who participate in the training. “I think everybody will gain something from this,” Rachel said.

To sign up, go to slhduluth.jotform.com/233605899379879. (Link available on Lake View Hospital’s Facebook page.) For questions, reach out to Rachel Gischia at 218- 834-8761 or email her at rachel.gischia@slhduluth.com.

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