Mental Disorders in the Library: Understanding and Meeting the Needs of Patrons Struggling with Mental Disorders
Instructor: Dawn Behrend
Dates: March 4th through 29th, 2019
Credits: 1.5 CEUs or 15 PDHs
The National Alliance of Mental Illness estimates that one in five children, teens, and adults suffer from a mental illness. With libraries functioning as a hub of the communities they serve, librarians must be prepared to serve patrons struggling with mental health issues. This course will provide librarians with the necessary knowledge and skills to address common mental disorders, as well as ways in which librarians can balance their own mental health needs in a demanding profession.
The instructor has a unique background in being a second career librarian after having worked as a psychologist for 20 years.
By the end of the course, students will:
- Develop a better understanding of the most common mental health issues such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, ADHD, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
- Improve sensitivity in interacting with patrons with a mental disorder with an emphasis upon awareness of the stigma of mental illness, implementing library policies to address the needs of patrons with a mental disorder, and providing accommodations in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Learn effective ways of managing interactions with patrons struggling with a mental disorder including: deescalating emotional clients; conflict resolution skills; maintaining appropriate boundaries; and managing requests for sensitive information about mental health topics.
- Work with community partners to develop potential referral sources, training opportunities, mental health programming, and assistance with crisis intervention.
- Apply self-care strategies to balance the mental health needs of librarians who may be struggling with a mental health disorder and/or common job and life stressors.
Dawn Behrend is an Instruction and Reference Librarian at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where she serves as the liaison for psychology, counseling, mathematics, computer science, and business. Ms. Behrend also manages the library's social media and 3D printing lab. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Clinical Psychology, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Library Science. Ms. Behrend has worked for 20 years as a clinical psychologist and is a second career librarian. Ms. Behrend continues to work in private practice in addition to her work as an academic librarian.
This is an online class that is taught asynchronously, meaning that participants do the work on their own time as their schedules allow. The class does not meet together at any particular times, although the instructor may set up optional sychronous chat sessions. Instruction includes readings and assignments in one-week segments. Class participation is in an online forum environment.
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