Volunteers staffed tables set up at local grocery stores earlier this spring, conveying messages of hope in this somewhat depressing time.

On Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017, Peace of Mind Pacific County hosted our first annual Recovery Sunday on Long Beach Peninsula. Our peer-based all-volunteer group, POMPC, brought free pompom flowers, free stress balls, and free support information to whoever showed up at a local grocery store or the gazebo in Long Beach. We chose that date to coincide with the 2017 World Suicide Prevention Day and the Sunday of the Rod Run weekend. People responded positively, including silent donations from people who walked by the tables and simply nodded.

Two more all-volunteer Recovery Sundays were held in 2018 and 2019. Last year, a new volunteer team from north Pacific County expanded the effort into Raymond, moving from a rainstorm inside a local grocery store. This September, we clearly can’t do Recovery Sunday outdoors or in large groups due to health restrictions. Yet our message of Hope, Recovery, and Support is more important than ever. A great many people of all ages are struggling to cope with months of isolation, as well as anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

Peace of Mind Pacific County is a small group of people. We believe that staying in touch with each other is a key to surviving in hard times. That is why we started the Hope Letter Project in April. You can find all ten of them on Facebook or on our website (www.pompc.org). We also started doing our Wednesday coffee hours on Zoom, and we’ve done small, safe versions of WRAP, Wellness Recovery Action Plan, at Head Start and the Peninsula Senior Center.

Eight POMPC friends recently offered our names, contact numbers, and our interests as potential peer support buddies. We are not the only people to contact when in need. You yourself are the best source of peer support, whether you feel strong at this moment or not. Actress and mental health advocate Glenn Close says it well:

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, more unashamed conversation.”

Free online resources

Besides POMPC, other local resources can help keep us safe and offer support to people we care about. County health educator Jackie Smith is providing free online resources for prevention of suicidal crises or opioid overdoses.

Two Naloxone trainings will be Sept. 17 and Sept. 24 at 10 a.m. Naloxone is a lifesaving medication used to reverse opioid overdoses. The trainings talk about what opioids are, how opioids work, how Naloxone works and how to use Naloxone. Kits are free.

Sept. 17 Naloxone registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/naloxone-917-tickets-119018554701

Sept. 24 Naloxone registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/naloxone-924-tickets-119019505545

On Aug. 31, Pacific County participated in International Overdose Awareness Day.

On Thursday, Sept. 10, at 10 a.m., Jackie will host a virtual QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) training. This is a suicide prevention training, teaching any interested person how to recognize warning signs of a potential suicidal crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone in a crisis to help. QPR is open to anyone. It intended to offer hope through positive action.

Sept. 10 QPR registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/qpr-question-persuade-refer-tickets-118961018609

For any questions, please contact Jackie at 360-642-9349, or email her at jsmith@co.pacific.wa.us.

In one of the “Principles of Support” shared at every Peace of Mind Pacific County event, the last statement spoken is: “We will never give up hope.” I know that not everyone believes those words. But as a good friend once said to a person in pain, “I will hold the hope for you until you can hold it on your own.”

Contact Peace of Mind Pacific County and Barbara Bate at PO Box 708, Ocean Park WA 98640; bategofish@gmail.com.

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