Alpert Jewish Family Service providing resources to prevent suicide

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
Posted at 1:17 PM, Sep 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-14 18:22:18-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and the Alpert Jewish Family Services is making sure those who need help have access to the resources they need.

Alpert JFS representatives said they use this month to spread hope and distribute vital information to discuss suicide prevention.

Thanks to a state grant, they are providing mental health first aid training to teach participants how to recognize if people are in need of help.

"It teaches specifics about what is mental illness, basic signs and symptoms, what is addiction. How do we respond to somebody who might be experiencing a crisis? How to approach somebody?" said Dr. Elaine Rotenberg, an Alpert JFS clinical psychologist.

Dr. Elaine Rotenberg, Alpert JFS clinical psychologist
Dr. Elaine Rotenberg discusses how the program trains people to spot signs that others may be in distress.

They work with more than a dozen agencies, about 90 trainers in Palm Beach County, who go out into the community and train more than 6,500 individuals in the county.

"It's a course that people take eight hours in person. Virtually they take the training, and it's a five-hour course," Rotenberg said.

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis call 911 or the mobile crisis line at 561-637-2102.

"Traditionally one in four people suffer a mental health crisis within a year," said Alexa Lee, the Palm Beach County Behavioral Health Coalition Director of Programs. "It could be a co-worker, could be a relative, could be a neighbor."

She trains people in the community on the signs to look for.

Alexa Lee
Alexa Lee says they have courses designed for a specific audience like law enforcement or veterans.

"Someone who is sleeping too much, sleeping too little, eating too much, eating too little, using drugs in excess or alcohol in excess," Lee said.

Individuals can also call National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255 or text "HOME" to 741741 for further support and resources regarding suicide.

"The goal is to have a healthier more responsible community to save lives, which mental health first aid does, and to get people connected to resources," Rotenberg said.

"We have trainers who speak Creole. We have trainers who speak Spanish, and we have courses that are designed for a specific audience," Lee said. "For example, we have courses that are for law enforcement. We have courses for veterans and their families."