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iCarol attends the American Association of Suicidology Conference

This Wednesday through Friday, members of our team will attend sessions at the American Association of Suicidology Conference, and we will also host a booth in the virtual exhibit hall.

The conference is a convergence of professionals working across the spectrum of the suicide prevention industry, from those operating crisis centers and other direct care services, to professionals working in academic settings conducting suicide prevention research, and advocates focused on prevention, education and awareness.

So we can continue to stay ahead of the topics that most impact iCarol’s customers, on Wednesday Dana will attend the Crisis Continuum pre-conference program, which concludes with a session on network updates and future directions for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Network.

Having supported crisis centers since the earliest days of the Lifeline network, and serving a large portion of the network that are iCarol customers, we have witnessed the Lifeline’s growth year after year, both in the number of participating centers and the volume of contacts the Lifeline receives through calls, chats, and other forms of communication. At this year’s update we’re anticipating the latest news from the 988 transition plan and how that will affect members of the Lifeline network. We’re also closely following the continuing conversations on how communities are changing their practices around responding to mental health emergencies and similar crises, with a shift towards crisis intervention teams and other professionals leading the response as opposed to law enforcement.

These discussions directly inform iCarol’s strategy and product development in the coming months and years, which ensures we will continue to meet the needs of suicide prevention and crisis centers everywhere, providing the tools they need to do their life-saving work.

If you plan to be at the AAS Conference, please stop by our virtual booth to download our new guides and materials, including a brand new ebook on choosing software for crisis intervention and suicide prevention services. We’ll also be available for virtual meetings at your convenience to answer your questions, or have conversations about your challenges or projects and explore how iCarol can be of assistance.

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Responding to a Mental Health Crisis

Around the nation there are conversations happening about public safety as it pertains to emergency response where it involves situations of mental health crisis. Who are the appropriate entities to respond to 911 calls for someone in a mental health crisis?

Legislation has been introduced in New York State, Daniel’s Law, that would establish both state and regional mental health response councils which would permit mental health professionals to respond to mental health and substance abuse emergencies.

This legislation is modeled after a program in Eugene, Oregon, CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets), developed in 1989, that takes an innovative, community-based public safety approach to provide mental health first response for crises involving mental illness, homelessness, and addiction.

We believe 211s and Crisis Lines are an integral part of this conversation.

We are planning to host a conversation on this topic and would like to hear from you regarding what actions your organizations are currently taking and what kind of additional support iCarol could provide to assist you in responding to 911 calls in these situations.

Please email us if you are interested in sharing your ideas or plans related to this topic, or if you are simply interested in participating in these conversations.

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Career Opportunity with The Senior Alliance

The Senior Alliance, based in Wayne, Michigan, is currently seeking a candidate for the position of Program Manager – LMSW.

The Program Manager – LMSW will manage a team of employees with the goal of improving the lives of older adults who are socially isolated. Effectively focus the team on achieving individual and program performance goals. Continually train the team to effectively enroll patients, implement the agency’s Hearken model, properly document cases and coordinate resource referrals to proper agency staff. Work with agency’s fiscal and information technology staff to insure data integrity, proper programmatic billing and report production. Serve as the agency’s liaison to the program’s partners. This is a temporary role pending budget continuance.

Education:
Master’s in Social Work – Program Manager must be a Licensed Master’s Social Worker with experience in counseling

Experience:
Minimum two years of experience in direct management of employees and programs, preferably in a professional environment. Demonstrated experience in developing and implementing projects and/or service delivery, including effectiveness in quality assurance/quality improvement activities with complex multi-year programs. Experience with business process, customer service, data management/flow mapping, interacting with high-level external stakeholders and community relations. Possess some understanding of database, system design, or application programming. Experience with Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) development, evidence-based diagnostic tools, and counseling. Familiarity with the aging network and community-based organizations is desirable.

Requirements:
Excellent interpersonal and group process skills. Is accurate, conscientious and flexible with attention to detail. Accepts direction, well organized, has the ability to meet deadlines and a willingness to work in a team environment. Is proficient with computers, including using data to generate meaningful queries and reports that help inform discussions regarding program effectiveness and future direction. Ability to develop collaborative partnerships with other agencies, draft documents for public distribution and make presentations on behalf of the agency. Must have valid driver’s license and reliable transportation. Perform job functions with ethics, honesty and integrity. The Senior Alliance (TSA) is a non-profit 501c(3) where philanthropy on behalf of the agency is a requirement of all employees.

Duties include:

  • Manage daily activities of Social Workers, Peer Mentors, Community Health Workers & Peer Volunteers and effectively address issues arising from client interactions;
  • Work alongside Director of Programs to develop the Hearken model and any associated grant application
  • Provide counseling to program clients;
  • Review pre and post scores on all diagnostic tools used in the program to determine program successes and areas of improvement
  • Ensure that all staff obtain and maintain required professional certifications when required;
  • Implement a continual training and skill development program for program staff;
  • Oversee data entry and documentation processes;
  • Lead regularly scheduled team meetings to continually develop staff skills, provide programmatic performance feedback and foster interaction between team members focused on experience sharing;
  • Develop and implement individual staff member and project work plans, as needed;
  • Develop and maintain open lines of communication with program partners (both internal and external);
  • Adhere to programmatic policies and procedures established with the program’s contractual partners;
  • Work with Information Technology Specialist to maintain functionality of the program’s database;
  • Work with the fiscal department to insure accurate and timely billing of programmatic activities;
  • Be an advocate for older adults and an effective speaker at local, state and national forums;
  • Other duties as assigned by the Chief Clinical Officer, Director of Programs, or CEO.

Learn More

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SAMHSA to hold Grants 101 Webinar for Community-Based Organizations

SAMHSA’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity has announced its Elevate CBOs Webinar Series: Grants 101, a webinar on developing a competitive SAMHSA grant application. The webinar is for community-based organizations (CBOs) serving under-resourced racial and ethnic minority, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQIA) populations. The webinar will:



  • Provide an overview of the grant application process at SAMHSA
  • Clarify what is and is not required in submitting grant applications
  • Include a question and answer session.

Date: Thursday, March 4

Time: 2:00-4:00pm Eastern

You must RSVP by Monday, March 1.

RSVP Now

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Petition: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Education in Schools

CW: This blog post discusses youth suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Leading Causes of Death Reports, in 2018 suicide was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34.

In spite of these statistics, there are inconsistent requirements and delivery mechanisms in school curriculums across the United States. Analysis by TODAY found that, “at least nine states require a mental health curriculum by law. At least 20 states and the District of Columbia include mental health in their health or education standards…More than a dozen states appear not to require mental health education or incorporate it into their standards.”

Education for students specifically about suicide and suicide prevention, including warning sign recognition and how to seek assistance for themselves or their friends, is even more scarce.

In the absence of consistent and nationwide coverage on these issues provided by schools, individuals and mental health advocacy groups are pushing for change through petitions and other forms of activism. One such petition by Joseph Marques of Taunton, MA who is a member of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), makes note that COVID-19 is only further complicating and increasing the need for good mental health and suicide prevention education. You can read that petition here.

Further reading about mental health and suicide prevention in school can be found at these resources:

What are your thoughts on providing mental health education and suicide prevention for K-12 students? Leave a comment below to join the discussion!

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month

When it comes to teens dating, many parents and guardians worry about things like their teen’s emotions or heartbreak, staying out too late, losing focus and falling behind at school, sexual activity, STDs, or teen pregnancy. And while all of those are worthy of concern for a caring parent, many do not stop to consider another big issue facing teens: Teen Dating Violence.

According to information provided by loveisrespect.org, a survey found that 81% of parents believe teen dating violence is not an issue or admit they don’t know if it’s an issue. And though 82% of parents feel confident that they could recognize the signs if their child was experiencing dating abuse, a majority of parents (58%) could not correctly identify all the warning signs of abuse.

This is troubling considering the problem of abusive romantic relationships between teens problem is a prevalent issue.

  • 1 in 3 high school students experience physical or sexual violence, or both, by someone they are dating
  • 10% of adolescents report being the victim of physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner during the previous year
  • Girls and young women between the ages of 16 and 24 experience the highest rate of intimate partner violence — almost triple the national (US) average
  • Among female victims of intimate partner violence, 94% of those age 16-19 and 70% of those age 20-24 were victimized by a current or former boyfriend or girlfriend
  • Violent behavior typically begins between the ages of 12 and 18

To learn more about Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, visit:

Happy 2-1-1 Day!

Each year, February 11th is celebrated as 2-1-1 day throughout North America.

2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember three digit number, but unlike 4-1-1 for directory assistance or 9-1-1 for life-threatening emergencies, the focus of 2-1-1 is to provide people with comprehensive information and referral to various human services in their communities.

Rather than spend hours of frustration going it alone calling around to various agencies or surfing the web, help-seekers can make 2-1-1 their first call for assistance and speak to a trained specialist that can spend time evaluating their needs, educating them about resources, and then connect them with the appropriate services. These 2-1-1 agencies widen their reach by making their services available via chat, texting, and integrating their well-curated database of resources into their website. They also build partnerships with other providers by sharing their resource information and making it available to collaborators in a multitude of ways. Of course, iCarol is delighted to help a large percentages of 2-1-1s across Canada and the United States tap into these tools and innovation to help their communities.

The specialists at 2-1-1 are considered some of the unsung heroes of the global Coronavirus pandemic. While they aren’t always highly visible first responders in their communities, they are certainly an integral part of the COVID-19 response. From very early on in the pandemic, 2-1-1 centers have served as community helplines for COVID-19 health information, and provided critical resource information to individuals and families suffering from the economic fallout caused by the Coronavirus. And now as communities are implementing their vaccine roll outs, once again 2-1-1s are often serving as part of that process as well.

iCarol is proud to be working with so many 211 providers whose organizations provide a vital service to their communities by connecting millions of people to essential services each year. If you work at a 2-1-1 and celebrated this day at your helpline, whether it’s just a small occasion or large outreach event, we want to hear from you! Send your stories and photos to me at dgrayson@icarol.com so we can feature them on our blog and share your experiences with our readers and recognize your organization.

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Database Administrator Career Opportunity at 211 Maryland

211 Maryland is currently seeking a candidate to fill the position of Database Administrator.

About the Position:

The Database Administrator oversees the evolution, expansion and maintenance of a statewide resource database that includes health and human service resources available to Marylanders and ensures standards are met by the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS). They provide guidance and direction to 211 Maryland Call Center Resource Specialists, volunteers and information and referral specialists on database enhancements, development, and maintenance activities. The Database Administrator leads the creation of new partnerships with other statewide organizations that maintain health and human services databases to reduce duplication in resources and identify new partnerships. They serve as the point of contact for all statewide database requests.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities includes, but are not limited to :

    Database development oversight:
    In tandem with the Operations Director, develops statewide policy/procedures, documents and implements procedures for researching, selecting, classifying, indexing, and updating resource information to assure the accuracy, consistency and integrity of the database. Ensures that Inclusion/Exclusion criteria are uniformly applied statewide; a standardized profile is used for every resource; resources are classified by the AIRS/211 LA County taxonomy; and the database is updated annually. Networks with resource managers across the nation to stay abreast of best practices and developments in technology that could enable increased efficiencies. Regularly solicits input from call center resource specialist on resource needs and recommended system changes in accordance with identified needs.

    Identify best practices for database development and maintenance:
    In tandem with Operations Director and call centers, develop best practice policy/procedures for database improvements, maintenance, and technological upgrades. Support statewide efforts to increase agency resources, continued maintenance, and system updates. Support call centers with identifying resources and best practices to maintain and enhance their local resources. 10% Reporting: Creates customized resource reports. Collects and disseminates data on community resources as needed to support 211 Maryland’s public policy/statewide impact. 10% Relationship Building and Community Outreach: Identifies statewide collaboration opportunities. Oversee efforts to create data sharing agreements and processes with local and statewide organizations. Coordinates database activities among 211 pilots. Networks with community service providers to promote availability of online resource database and to coordinate efforts to update resource information.

    Training:
    Identify best practice training opportunities. Coordinates database maintenance activities and trainings for call centers resource staff. Provides direction and guidance to resource specialists, information, and referral specialists, in researching, developing, and updating resources. Provides training as needed for call center staff on use of information and referral software for resource development and maintenance using the AIRS/211 LA County Taxonomy of Human Services.

Administrator must consistently demonstrate competency in:

  • Maintaining a statewide resource database in accordance with AIRS standards.
  • Supervise, guide, and instruct staff and volunteers with database development tasks.
  • Plan daily work schedule and prioritize tasks to meet 211 MD’s goals and objectives.
  • Perform tasks with minimal direct supervision.
  • Build and manage external relationships.
  • Leading or participate in team projects as required.
  • Employ problem solving techniques when appropriate.

Qualifications and Requirements:

    Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Human Services, Library Sciences, or related field with at least 2 years of experience in a human service organization. Knowledge of computer systems, database technology and data analysis techniques. Basic knowledge of human service delivery system. iCarol Resource Database administration experience preferred.

Abilities/Skills:

    Ability to express ideas clearly to individuals and groups.
  • Agility to make independent decisions using good judgement.
  • Organizational skills.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Strong relationship building and other interpersonal skills.

How to Apply:

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Join us for Bell Let’s Talk Day

Bell Let's Talk

Wednesday January 28th is a big day for Canadian mental health initiatives: It’s Bell Let’s Talk Day!

This annual event draws attention to the topic of mental health, particularly the stigma attached to mental illness that prevents many from seeking help. The idea is that if we all talk more openly about mental health and are open to conversations about it, it will lessen the shame attached to mental illness. Bell also champions access to care, workplace mental health, and research.

On Bell Let’s Talk Day, people are encouraged to take to social media and discuss the topics of mental health and mental illness. Certain social media activities, such as watching the official Bell Let’s Talk video, using their special profile photo frame in Facebook, or using their special Snapchat filter, will help raise funds for organizations that address Bell Let’s Talk’s initiatives. Bell donates 5¢ to mental health initiatives and programs across Canada (including many services that are part of the iCarol family!). Bell customers can also participate by texting or making calls. Find out more about how to take part.

Bell Let’s Talk has had a profound impact across Canada. Since the campaign began in 2011 there have been over 1 billion interactions around Bell Let’s Talk, with over $100 million donated to mental health initiatives. And 86% of Canadians say they are more aware of mental health issues since Bell Let’s Talk launched.

To learn more about Bell Let’s Talk, check out their website and toolkit that contains everything you need to participate. We hope you’ll follow us on Twitter and Facebook, to join us in raising funds and awareness so we can remove the stigma from the conversation about mental health!

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January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

The United States recognizes January as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. While this is designation originated in the US in 2010 by presidential proclamation, many other countries, including Canada, take part in education and awareness around human trafficking and slavery during January as well.

What is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking occurs when someone, using force, fraud, or coercion, obtains some form of labor or commercial sex act from the victim, often for the direct profit of the perpetrators. Traffickers use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure their victims into trafficking situations. Human Trafficking is often described a modern-day slavery. Traffickers may recruit, transport, harbor and/or exercise control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labor.

Who are the victims?

Anyone, of any age, race, religion, sex, or background can become a victim of human trafficking, however certain groups of people are more commonly victimized and enslaved, or vulnerable to trafficking, than others. Women and children are more likely to be victimized than men. Human trafficking particularly affects women and children who are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color), immigrants or migrants.

How big is the problem?

Human Trafficking and Slavery are more prevalent than most people probably think. According to the US State Department, by some estimates, as many as 24.9 million people — adults and children — are trapped in a form of human trafficking around the world, including in the United States. Instability caused by natural disasters, conflict, or a pandemic can increase opportunities for traffickers to exploit others. During the COVID-19 pandemic, traffickers are continuing to harm people, finding ways to innovate and even capitalize on the chaos.

How can you tell if someone might be a victim?

There are many signs to watch for. A few of the most common are:

  • Does the person appear disconnected from family, friends, community organizations, or houses of worship?
  • Has a child stopped attending school?
  • Is a juvenile engaged in commercial sex acts?
  • Is the person disoriented or confused, or showing signs of mental or physical abuse?
  • Does the person show signs of having been denied food, water, sleep, or medical care?
  • Is the person often in the company of someone to whom he or she defers? Or someone who seems to be in control of the situation, e.g., where they go or who they talk to?
  • Does the person have freedom of movement? Can the person freely leave where they live? Are there unreasonable security measures?

Read more about common signs. You can even download an indicator card to carry with you to remind you of what to watch look for.

How you can help

Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking. If you suspect someone is being victimized, you should not confront them while they are in the presence of the suspected perpetrator, nor should you confront a suspected perpetrator. This could be dangerous for you and the victim. Instead, experts advise you reach out to emergency services or law enforcement to report suspected trafficking.

There are many things you can do to help fight human trafficking beyond reporting suspected trafficking when you see it. You can get involved in your community’s efforts to end trafficking, donate to organizations that fight human trafficking, and much more. Click here for a comprehensive list of ideas for how you can help.

Resources:

Hope for Justice
US Department of State
Administration for Children & Families – Office on Trafficking in Persons
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)
The Human Trafficking Institute
Public Safety Canada
Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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