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Mental Health Resources For All Small Towns

This week in Oakes at Growing Small Towns, we hosted Monica McConkey, licensed mental health counselor and founder of Eyes on the Horizon Consulting.

Her visit to our community was made possible (cost-free!) by ND Behavioral Health Division and their mental health block grant. If you're in North Dakota, we encourage you to explore their website for additional resources.

We believe in the power of supporting the people in the towns we serve to be as healthy and whole as possible. These sessions touch on the mental, emotional, and social components of health, which tend to be more readily overlooked than our physical health.

Monica was a perfect provider for our community. Her approach was practical, positive and forward-focused; she was also honest about the shortcomings we experience in this "resource desert" as it relates to mental health.

We are sharing ALL the resources from these 2 separate events.

The first was called Community-Based Suicide Prevention and Intervention Strategies. Our small town has been rocked by many deaths by suicide. As you'll hear in this recording, Monica validates the deep complexity of the pain of losing someone to suicide; all grief is real, but all grief is not the same.

Below is the video from her full session, along with her slides. We're choosing to not summarize her main points as there is a lot of in-person discussion that enriched the conversation. You just have to watch it.

Community-Based Suicide Prevention + Intervention Strategies

Community Based Suicide Prevention - Oakes ND
Download PDF • 4.22MB

The following resource is something we're planning to deliver in person in Oakes as a follow up to this training. Building out this list for our town will absolutely be a fruitful exercise. If we gather any meaningful wisdom or ideas on this process for your community, we'll be sure to share it.

Building Resilience in Rural Communities Toolkit
Download PDF • 2.88MB

The next session is called Compassion Fatigue and dives into what this looks like for the "helping" professions.

Monica offers the "ABCs" of compassion fatigue and the discussion about how this presents itself in our communities was so real and relevant, we believe everyone in small towns should watch this one, too.

The interesting thing about compassion fatigue is that it really can affect people from many different backgrounds. It's not limited at all to just people who are in the medical field, human services, or emergency personnel.

But those people? Are absolutely ravaged by this and we need to help them.

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion Fatigue - Growing Small Towns
Download PDF • 1.63MB

Online Resources

To make access easier, we have linked all the pertinent resource links from Monica's slide deck directly here:

Book Resources

For those of you who love holding a real book in your hand, here are Monica's recommendations for books to support your learning.

Each one listed is linked out to Amazon, but as small-town lovers, naturally, we encourage you buy your books from an indie bookstore if there's one near you. Here in Oakes? We have an amazing little bookstore and coffee shop called Sweets n' Stories. If you message or call Heather, she'll happily order any of these books for you!

The Summary We Can't Help But Offer

OK, so we said we weren't going to summarize, but seriously, we can't even help ourselves.

There are a few core "truths" t