What YOU Can Do! President of Preferred Behavioral Health of N.J. Offers a Call to Action
William Sette, the president and CEO of Preferred Behavioral Health of N.J., 700 Airport Road, Lakewood, is offering some insights into how people can respond in the aftermath of the Connecticut school shootings, especially as attention is drawn to the treatment of mental illness in our society.
Sette said, “This issue—the treatment of mental illness in our society—has been the subject of endless debate; however, this most recent incident underscores the need for a responsible call to action on the part of all of us.
“Over the past several days, we have heard from elected officials as well as mental health professionals, expressing concern and offering their interpretations of the events that occurred. Now is the time to decide how YOU will respond to this tragedy.
“You can advocate for legislation to provide adequate funding for mental health services and for The Safe Schools and Communities Violence Prevention and Response Plan Act, which calls for each county superintendent to hire a violence prevention specialist who would work with local community behavioral healthcare providers, school professionals and parents to develop a plan to identify at-risk students and ensure they receive early intervention behavioral health services and to coordinate a behavioral health response in the event of an incident.”
Sette also advises the public to educate themselves by enrolling in a Mental Health First Aid class to learn about the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to respond to a mental health emergency. Classes in Mental Health First Aid teach individuals from all walks of life to help preserve life when a person may be a danger to oneself or others, and to help prevent problems from becoming more serious by providing information regarding mental health services and access to those services.
Classes in Mental Health First Aid are twelve hours in length and instruct participants in a five-step action plan that leads to certification as a Mental Health First Aid responder. Learning how to identify and help people with mental illnesses should be a first-aid skill as common as CPR, states the Washington-based National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (NCCBH).
Two Mental Health First Aid classes are being offered; one January 17 and 18, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and another February 5, 15, 19, and 26 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
For information about in enrolling in a Mental Health First Aid class or in bringing Mental Health First Aid to your organization or community, call Preferred Behavioral Health of N.J. at (732) 458-1700.
For immediate assistance in dealing with concerns arising from this tragedy, call the Disaster Distress Helpline at (800) 985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746.
Sette reminds us, “All of us share in the responsibility to do our part to prevent such unspeakable tragedy.”