City, District to hold mental first aid talk

The greater Maple Valley community is invited to attend a special presentation designed to equip people with basic knowledge about mental and behavioral health issues that can be used to assist people in crisis.

The program is called R.E.A.D.Y., an acronym for Real Emergency Aid Depends on You. The one-hour presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. on October 26 in the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center. It is open to all community members and is sponsored by the City of Maple Valley and the Tahoma School District.

The R.E.A.D.Y. program was developed by the City of Auburn, in collaboration with health care professionals and counselors. It is designed as the “CPR of mental illness,” said Pat Bailey, Community Health Consultant for the City of Auburn.

“When people nationally stepped up to be trained in CPR, a major trend took hold in this country and heart attack victims were saved,” Bailey explained. “We must do the same with mental illness and suicide and inform and educate all people, so that people with a mental illness or a significant life stressor are not ashamed or afraid to seek help and the stigmas attached to mental and behavioral issues are eliminated.”

The October 26 program will be presented by Dr. Stephen Anderson, an emergency medicine physician for MultiCare Auburn Medical Center and Chair of the Board of Directors of the American College of Emergency Physicians. The program provides basic tools to assist someone having a mental health crisis until professional help arrives. The presentation will include information specific to the Maple Valley area, including mental health statistics. Dr. Anderson will discuss common mental health issues but also will address teen suicide by talking about major warning signs of teen mental health issues and providing five ways a teen might be asking for help with a mental health challenge. For more information and resources, click here.

Any questions about the event may be directed to the City of Maple Valley at 425-413-8800 or Tahoma School District at 425-413-3400.