GALLIA COUNTY — At a time when much of life has been forced to slow, Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery (CPR) has big plans in its sight.
Among those plans include a free suicide prevention conference, activities in local schools, a drug take-back event, a new anti-human trafficking taskforce, and prevention and recovery efforts. CPR, a community-led group that focuses on prevention and recovery, addiction, and mental health, has worked to find new ways to engage with the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes in-person activity difficult to do.
The suicide prevention conference is free, and registration is now open, and will feature workshops, training, and a panel from the Ohio Suicide Prevention Coalition. The training, called Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) teaches how to ask if someone is suicidal, how to persuade them to get help, and how to refer them to get help, Crystal Rankin, who works in suicide prevention, explained.
“What we’re seeking to do is increasing awareness and provide specific guidelines for reaching out to high-risk groups,” Reggie Robinson, who works with CPR, said. “It’s Appalachian-centered, but we’re looking out to reaching out to people of color, LGBTQ, elderly, and youth.”
The conference will also be recorded for those who cannot attend it live. It will take place on Sept. 29. Registration is limited to 100 people.
For suicide prevention, CPR is also working with local funeral homes to provide suicide prevention resources to grieving families. Kits at funeral homes contain information on behavioral health organizations in the area. This month, CPR has also put up two suicide-prevention billboards in Gallia County.
CPR is also hoping to engage more with schools this year. One such plan includes meeting with at-risk students for deeper conversations to address deeper issues that might contribute to risk.
“We’re excited to get to the bottom of these root problems rather than just talking about vaping or cigarettes,” Brian Howard said. “We think we can reach them on a deeper level.”
CPR also works with local youth through its Gallia Youth Coalition. According to Thom Mollohan, who helps lead CPR, the youth coalition has seen “increased attendance because of virtual connections.”
“We all are just working to get used to our new normal in the way we are interacting and working with our kiddos,” Selina Mitchell, who works with Gallia Youth Coalition, said.
For addiction prevention, CPR will help host an in-person drug take-back event on Oct. 24. Last month, CPR helped host an at-home drug disposal program that served over 175 people in Meigs and Gallia Counties. The drug take-back event in October will be a drive-through to ensure public health guidelines are followed.
“Last year we made it a fun community event but because of COVID we’re scaling back,” Dana Wilkerson said. “We’re just going to make it a…true drive-thru event. We want to get resources out to communities that may need them.”
Bags with resources will be given to those who come to the event containing resources to give to people.
CPR is also helping form an anti-human trafficking taskforce, to be chaired by Lora Jenkins and Anita Moore.
Also discussed was the possibility of having a walk of recovery for those who are in recovery of addiction, to possibly be held at the Gallipolis City Park, and peer-recovery training partnered with Appalachia United.
CPR is an organization that works in Gallia County, and frequently partners with other local groups to provide prevention and recovery services to the local community.
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Sharla Moody is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing from Gallipolis, Ohio. She is a graduate of River Valley High School and currently attends Yale University.