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Emotional Safe Spot: The Training – part 2 of a 4 series.

In last weeks blog, we covered the origin and the idea of the Emotional Safe Spot in High River, this week we are going to look deeper at the training. Here is a copy of the Certified Emotional Safe Spot Members guide that looks at some of the expectations of the trainee’s. Certified Members Guide 2019

For a brief recap the Emotional Safe Spot is a program that trains front line workers to be safe places for the general public to contact when struggling.  Trained people will be given an orange lanyard that says emotional wellbeing on it and locations where 2 staff are trained get an orange dot for their doorway.  This denotes two things, 1. that they are willing to be a safe spot and 2. that they have taken training so that they can be confident and competent as a first line of assistance.  They are not trained to be counselors, but rather to use curiosity, active listening, empathy and problem solving to help people make the next step in their wellness journey.

What is the training that we’ve chosen to prepare these people and places?  After much deliberation and sampling several different training organizations we came to a great partnership with the Crisis and Trauma Research Institute (CTRI).  CTRI has a broad spectrum of training and were able to tailor 5 courses that med our needs and allowed us to provide a certification in the Emotional Safe Spot.

Let’s do a little overview on each training and some gold nuggets from each.

Here are the 5:

  • Mental Health Awareness and Support
  • Working in Social Services: The Essential Skills
  • De-Escalating Potentially Violent Situations
  • Wellness Strategies for the Wellness Worker
  • Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention

Mental Health Awareness and Support

Stigma or fear of admitting that you may not be mentally well, persists. Imagine if we were afraid to admit that our leg was broken – things just get worse – right?!

The key teachings in this workshop are a brief overview of the following conditions:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Depression
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Mental Illness and Addictions
  • Mental Illness and Suicide

With a strong focus on our personal bias and how it affects how we treat ourselves or the people around us that might be struggling.

Working in Social Services: The Essential Skills

This workshop covers the essential helping skills.  There is an emphasis on listening and understanding, using a trauma informed lens, ethics and again facing our own beliefs, bias and motivations for helping. Time is taken to discuss the importance of collaboration with other systems – you don’t need to help all by yourself! Finally the importance of advocacy and empowerment – you are walking WITH people, not picking them up and carrying them.

De-Escalating Potentially Violent Situations

This one has an interesting name, what it is basically about is how to prevent violence and how to deal with emotionally charged situations confidently. It talks about safety as a preventative strategy, the anger escalation cycle, styles of anger, warnings signs and addressing enablers of violence – both on the personal and political scale. What I found really intriguing in this one was our anger styles – are you avoidant? forceful? collaborative or do you use indirect control to deal with situations that raise your blood pressure?

Wellness Strategies for the Helping Professional

Helping can be hard work.  This course covers the phases of stress, work-life balance, red flags and healthy coping. It encourages people who are helping people to have a personal plan for wellness and to pay attention to their own needs while looking after others. Healthy coping is covered in the physical, cognitive, emotional, social and spiritual realms.

Suicide Prevention, Intervention & Postvention

Because of the nature of the Emotional Safe Spot program we focused primarily on the intervention part.  That being said, a community wide conversation about prevention, intervention and postvention would be amazing (planting a seed here).

In this course suicide is covered from why, the risk factors, the warning signs and the suicide intervention steps. It’s a difficult topic and one that many of us feel unprepared for. The more we know the more confident we will be in facing this scary subject that actually touches us all.

We are proud of what we have created, it has the potential to truly arm this community with the level of support and care to which we can at some point declare “High River IS an Emotional Safe Spot”.

Next training dates have not been set yet, but we have our own trainers and are open to providing training on any one of these subjects with your group or business.

Contact or 403 471 1307 (Fawna).