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Librarians Join Mental Health Conversation

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In early 2013, President Barack Obama called for a “national conversation to increase understanding about mental health”. To address this need, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, Arne Duncan, launched what is known as the National Dialogue on Mental Health.

Libraries are being encouraged to partner with Creating Community Solutions, part of the National Dialogue intended to increase mental health awareness at a local level, and host events that will bring community members together to participate in open-discussions about mental health. The American Library Association Center for Civic Life is partnering with a number of other civic groups on this initiative including America Speaks, the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD), the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD),Everyday Democracy, and the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) and already positive outcomes are being reported (see results of the day-long event in Sacramento, California-http://creatingcommunitysolutions.org/outcomes/creating-community-solutions-sacramento-ca).

In addition to hosting or participating in events, libraries can use many of the tools available on the Creating Community Solutions website. These tools include a mental health press kit, social media toolkit, several documents on facilitating community dialogue, recorded webinars to assist in training and preparation, as well as information briefs and planning guides developed by Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

To find more information about Creating Community Solutions and how libraries are participating, visit the following websites.

Programming Librarian – Libraries Join the National Conversation about Mental Health: http://www.programminglibrarian.org/blog/2013/august-2013/join-the-national-conversation-about-mental-health.html#.UhJ3b5Ksg6k

Creating Community Solutions website: http://creatingcommunitysolutions.org/

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