News Article Details

Mental illness 'town hall' set in Providence

The Herald Journal - 4/9/2017

The Cache Suicide Prevention Coalition is bringing together mental health experts and people who suffer from mental illness for a “town hall” event on Monday night.

The “town hall” on “emotional health and healing” is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Spring Creek Middle School, 350 W. 100 North, Providence, according to promotional materials provided by the group.

Emily Pugsley, secretary for the Cache Suicide Prevention Coalition and a health educator for the Bear River Health Department, said the purpose of the event is to “provide hope for people” and to provide information on treatment for mental health, what resources are available and how to support loved ones who are dealing with a mental illness.

To highlight those themes, the Cache Suicide Prevention Coalition has invited Logan clinical psychologist David Christian. He will talk about the reasons for suicide, the symptoms of depression — the most common cause of suicide — and the suicide incident rate for youth and adults; a rate that is "climbing rapidly," according to Christian.

"I think we all have a notion of what depression is, but it's important to know how our traditional notion of depression may differ from a clinical definition," Christian said. "It's important for people to know what signs to look for to recognize they're having more than just a bad day or feeling down."

The suicide prevention coalition has also invited Scott Hunsaker, a member of the Box Elder County Suicide Prevention Coalition who lives with a mental illness, to speak at the event.

“Scott’s a great guy, he’s a successful member of society, he’s an example of someone that will help people come away with hope and a personal story of how to live with a mental illness,” Pugsley said.

The town hall will also feature Maureen Hearns, USU associate professor of music, who will talk about the school’s music therapy program and do an “intervention activity” as part of the event.

"When the coalition contacted me and asked if my students could 'perform' a musical number, it seemed more appropriate that instead of a performance the students demonstrated how music could be used in therapy," Hearns wrote in an email to The Herald Journal. "My senior students will be facilitating a music-experience for the audience."

Hearns said her students will involve the audience in singing a familiar song, and then substituting words into that song that would have specific meaning(s) for audience members. Following the experiential, they will lead the audience in chanting an affirmation.

In bringing Hearns and her students to be part of Monday's event, Pugsley hopes it "exposes people to available resources in our community."

The even on Monday will also include displays for community resources and individuals on hand to answer questions about mental illness.

“There will be a lot of opportunities for interaction,” Pugsley said.

The Mountain Crest High School Chamber Singers are expected to perform at the event.


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