‘A training that saves lives’, local health department trains to support those with mental health struggles

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 7:19 PM CDT
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PEKIN (25News Now) - While a 2021 study from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated suicide numbers are on the rise in Illinois, the Tazewell County Health Department took action Tuesday to prevent and educate those who are at risk.

The analysis stated Illinois ranks eighth in the least number of suicide deaths per state.

A group of adults met at the Pekin Public Library to earn their free mental health first aid certification.

Participants learned about the signs and symptoms for people having a mental health and/or substance use crisis. But more importantly, trainers said they developed an enhanced sense of confidence when having an interaction with someone in crisis.

One participant said she took the course because it hits very close to home.

“We’ve had a rough several years,” said participant Rebecca Beach. “My great nephew took his own life because of issues in his life. It just helps to know what to look for, and this class teaches that.”

Even though mental health awareness month is over, an spokesperson for the Tazewell County Health Department said we all have a responsibility to respond and help those who need it.

“We have an opportunity and a responsibility as just citizens of this area to raise our ability to respond,” said department spokesperson Kim Litwiller.

Litwiller said this is the third session the Tazewell County Health Department offered so far this year.

A fourth training will be held this Saturday at Creve Coeur Christian Church.