This to follow up my previously unpublished letter thanking Denise Richardson for her really balanced headline article published on Oct. 22. That article was in advance of one-day training on mental health issues in Oneonta the same week, mostly for law enforcement personnel. And again, to thank The National Alliance on Mental Illness Otsego County, the Oneonta Police, Otsego County Community Services and Bassett and Fox hospitals for their involvement in that training and Rural Social Services for funding the workshop and Brooks’ House of Bar-B-Q for hosting the event.
Mental illness is a major health issue world-wide, generally without sympathy or empathy and burdened with stigma or shame. Law enforcement is frequently contacted by individuals confronted with mental illness. As a consequence, law enforcement knowledge of mental illness response is an essential element of public safety.
The headlined program was led by retired Rochester Police Department Sergeant Eric Weaver, whose law enforcement history maximized his credibility with the attendants. I had the privilege of attending a two-day ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) program in Masonville in late September. That was led by Eric and Marion Mossman of Mental Health Association in Ulster County Inc. Both Eric and Marion did a great job teaching, and those
two days will reap years of return for me if I am ever able to use what I learned.
Clearly mental illness and suicide are related. Mental well-being is where it’s at! We all live in our heads; think about it!