Portage County – A week-long summer workshop for personnel will focus on how to support and work with students in crisis and who may also have mental health problems.

Registration is now open for the Mental Health Awareness and Crisis Management workshop set for July 15-19. It is sponsored by the Portage County Crisis Intervention Team Education Collaboration and the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County. The class will be conducted at the Streetsboro Police Department, 2080 State Route 303, Streetsboro.

The 40-hour program is designed for school personnel including teachers, administrators, guidance counselors, psychologists, bus drivers and other school employees. The goal is to increase awareness of mental health problems and learn how to prevent and manage crisis situations. The curriculum also includes the topic of cyber bullying, its effects on students and ways to reduce it.

As one of the programs during the week, a local expert in cyber bullying will discuss the topic, which will include the types of problems that are being reported in Northeast Ohio and information on combating the online form of violence.

The cost of the training is $100 for the week. Registration deadline is July 8. Brochures are available by calling 330-673-1756, ext. 201, or email laurab@mental-health-recovery.org.

Workshop participants can receive two graduate credit hours through Hiram College, Kent State University and Ashland University. The schools handle the charge for the graduate credits.

CITEC is based on the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for police officers. CIT was developed in 1988 in Memphis following the tragic shooting by a police officer of a man with mental illness. Both CIT and CITEC emphasize the understanding of mental health problems, the need for community collaboration to help people with these problems and specific techniques to manage individuals who are experiencing behavioral and emotional crises. The ultimate goal in a crisis situation is to de-escalate the individual to keep everyone safe and to then get them the appropriate help that they need, such as hospitalization rather than incarceration.

The CITEC curriculum offers information about mental health disorders, sexual abuse, PTSD, depression and suicide, developmental disorders including autism, domestic violence, school safely plans and substance abuse.  In addition, training focuses on community resources and de-escalation techniques and role plays to practice skills.

Organized and funded by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, the program is a cooperative effort by a group of dedicated individuals led by teacher Carrie Suvada. Mrs. Suvada is a veteran educator of students with disabilities in the Waterloo Local School District. She is joined on the planning committee by Joel Mowrey, Ph.D., executive director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County; Major Dennis Missimi of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office and Streetsboro Sgt. Andy Suvada who is CIT-trained and was Ohio CIT Officer of the Year in 2008. Committee members also provide some of the training along with professionals from local education, mental health and substance abuse treatment agencies.

For more information, call 330-673-1756, ext. 201, or email laurab@mental-health-recovery.org.