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Critical Conversations Conference: Mental Health Awareness: Libraries Create Safe Zones for Customers and Staff [SOLD OUT]

Patron Awareness and Customer Service

“Mental Health Awareness:  Libraries Create Safe Zones for Customers and Staff” is the theme for the 2019 Critical Conversations Conference.  Speakers will focus on providing library staff with an overview of mental health issues and the implications for library service and themselves. 

The morning will be kicked off by NAMI:

Understanding Mental Illness

This program will discuss the basic facts, myths and crisis handling tips for those dealing with customers with mental health issues. 

Learning Objectives:
  • What is Mental Illness and What are the different Diagnoses
  • Two Common Reactions to Mental Illness
  • Communication Skills
  • Help and Resources
Presenters: Kari Kepic provides assistance to individuals who contact the Helpline at NAMI Greater Cleveland. Kari served as a NAMI volunteer for six years with training as a facilitator for several NAMI signature support and education programs before joining the staff in 2008. As a NAMI volunteer, she taught numerous sessions of the Family to Family course for family members, as well as numerous sessions of the Hand to Hand and NAMI Basics courses for parents of young children. Kari is presently a State Trainer for the NAMI Family to Family course and also a State Trainer for The Family Support Group Model. Being trained as a Mental Health First Aid facilitator is one of the most current initiatives in spreading mental health awareness.
Ellen Riehm has been the Community Education Coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Cleveland (NAMI GC) since 2007. Ellen manages all aspects of the Community Education program, overseeing the training of volunteers for the NAMI GC Speakers Bureau and In Our Own Voice program, as well as conducting community presentations and managing Speakers' Nights.  She is certified in Mental Health First Aid, a State Trainer for the NAMI’s In Our Own Voice and Ending the Silence presentations. 

The next session is titled, Perspective and Insights for Library Staff Dealing with Mental Illness in their Facilities.  Joe Miesner, Librarian IV, Access Services, Central Library @ Joan A. Irwin Jacobs Common, San Diego Public Library will discuss an overview of San Diego Public Library’s efforts related to mental health, best practices for dealing with patrons suffering from mental illness and a conversation about the changing nature of public service.

Presenter:  Joe Miesner is the Access Services Librarian at San Diego Public Library’s Central Library. He has 27 years of experience in library service. Joe has worked in all 36 libraries in the City of San Diego’s diverse system. He is a certified Mental Health First Aid Trainer and has received Mental Health/PERT Training through the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team, who work with San Diego law enforcement agencies. Joe has extensive experience with customer service and conflict resolution. He has a BA in Philosophy from San Diego State University, a MLIS from San Jose State University, and a Black Belt in Kenpo Karate.

There will then be an opportunity to attend one of the following breakout sessions:

No Teen Left Behind: A Teen Mental Health Initiative

The Pasadena Public Library Teen Mental Health Initiative sprang from the passion of the Pasadena Public Library Teen Advisory Board to better serve teens suffering from mental illness. From inception to implementation, the Pasadena Public Library Teen Advisory Board co-created and co-lead this initiative with library staff to create and sustain a mental health resource center and programs to advocate for this often marginalized groups of teens. This presentation will provide attendees a complete plan and insight on how libraries can engage their youth, build new partnerships, and engage other community partners to help all teens build a better future together.

Presenters: Deborah Niblik is a librarian for the Pasadena Public Library located in Pasadena, California. Deborah received her BA in English Education from Cal Poly Pomona and MLIS from San Jose State University. In 2008, she received the Spectrum Scholarship and also received the Edna Yelland Scholarship from CLA in 2010. As a teen advocate, and mentor, Deborah strives to provide teens with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. She is dedicated to destigmatizing mental illness through education, compassion, supporting library staff, and helping those who need it the most.

Dementia-Friendly Library

There will be a brief overview of the behaviors one might see when working with a person with dementia and then information addressing the abilities of people with dementia, and how and why they are not the same as they used to be. It is important to understand what we can do when making recommendations for materials and activities.  There will also be a discussion about programs and services that a library might provide to its population with dementia and their care providers.

Presenters:  John Schmid has an undergraduate degree in Psychology, a master’s degree in education, and a master’s in business administration. In addition, he has various certifications in web design and dementia. All of this various training has served him better for this latest endeavor than he would have predicted. So much of his time in the last 10 years has been devoted to researching the field of dementia in order to pass information to readers in a more concise form. The research he did as an undergraduate gave him the tools to do this, and his training and experience as a teacher helped him to understand how to match activity and ability.

Holly Schmid also has a background in education and psychology, and a refined intuitive sense for communicating and caring for people who have dementia. This sense became clear when she stepped into the role of primary carer for her friend and teacher, Bernice, when Bernice began presenting with symptoms of dementia. Bernice was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and Holly and John cared for her until her death several years ago. It was this experience that led them to what they are doing now.

Where to turn; Whom to Call-211

Dealing with customers whose needs extend beyond those offered by the library can be distressing. You want to help, but you’re not sure what kind of help may be needed or where to find it. This session will discuss a variety of local and national services available in your community and throughout the state.

Presenter:  Terry Carter, I&R Coordinator, First Call 211, Mansfield/Richland County Public Library
Terry earned her MLIS degree from Kent State University in 2006 focusing her studies on Community Information & Referral Services. She administers the Richland County 2-1-1 service, operated as a department within the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library. As a professional member of the national Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) organization, she holds certifications in both I&R service delivery and in I&R database management.

The day will conclude with two staff-focused sessions.

Removing Fear and Anxiety after a Conflict

Responding to upset individuals in a professional setting can be significantly stressful. Recognizing how conflict can increase fear and anxiety is an important key to decrease anxiety associated with the work that you do.

Goal: Learn new skills to cope with fear and anxiety associated with customers who have challenging behaviors.

Learning Objectives:
  • Increase knowledge of conflict resolution
  • Increase self-awareness of how challenging emotions from others impacts us personally
  • Increase skills to use to respond to challenging behaviors in order to decrease our own fears and anxiety related to the job
Compassion Fatigue – “When Our Empathy Makes Us Vulnerable”

Compassion Fatigue in the library field and any helping field can be one of prevalence and dismay. Those of us who have been lucky enough to have true empathy within us are at risk of exhaustion purely because of our kindness and caring for others. This dynamic may seem unfair and unfortunately it is a dynamic that often drives well-meaning individuals out of the helping field, sometimes never to return.

The good news is that talking about Compassion Fatigue is the best way to decrease or even eliminate it! Talking about that which makes us vulnerable provides us with self-awareness and may even strengthens our abilities to continue to give good care to those in need! Let’s spend some time discussing this important topic as a gift to ourselves!

Goal: Increase understanding of the causes of Compassion Fatigue and Burn Out, ways to identify and decrease it and opportunities to learn and grow through the process.

Learning Objectives:
  • Participants will learn the definition of Compassion Fatigue, its causes and ways to prevent it and heal from it
  • Identify the symptoms of Compassion Fatigue and gain self-awareness of how we are impacted
  • Come prepared to discuss the “Spirit” of your work and the importance of taking care of ourselves in order keep the "Spirit" and continue good work
Presenter:  Erin Turner, LISW-S is the Intensive Services Program Manager at Crossroads/Beacon Health in Lake County and Adjunct Faculty for Youngstown State School of Social Work Graduate Program. She has worked in community mental health settings for over 20 years as a volunteer, direct service provider, clinical supervisor and program manager. She has extensive experience working with children, adolescents, families and adults with a variety of mental health issues, including, trauma, mood disorders and crisis situations. Erin specializes in community based crisis intervention. Erin has provided multiple trainings within the context of Social Work including, Risk Assessment, Trauma, Compassion Fatigue and Motivational Interviewing.

Resource tables from county Mental Health Services will be available during the lunch break.

Event Date:

Event Time:
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM Eastern

Hilton Garden Inn
8971 Wilcox Dr
Twinsburg, OH 44087

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Contact Person:
Melissa Lattanzi
(phone: 3306550531)

Who Should Attend:  All Staff

Competency:  Patron Awareness and Customer Service

Cost:  FREE
$25 surcharge for facility use and amenities.

We encourage you to register a minimum of three (3) days in advance for this event in order to ensure that we can accommodate your full participation in terms of seating, hand-outs, food, etc.
Speakers for the Critical Conversations Conference are generously sponsored by an LSTA Open Grant from the State Library of Ohio

It’s never too late to save your library money. NEO-RLS Memberships are pro-rated! Call us today to join.

Event Registration:
This class was a popular class and it is full.  Please email Melissa Lattanzi,  to be put on a waiting list and an additional class may be added for the future.

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