Building Caring Competent Communities

Caring Competent Community Model (CCC)

The Mental Health Association of Monmouth County (MHAMC), along with our national affiliate Mental Health America, advocate for the prevention of mental illness through the development of programs that focus on early identification and intervention for those at risk, services for those who need them, with recovery as a goal.

In keeping with a priority on prevention, MHAMC is working within local towns to provide a Caring Competent Community (CCC) model that is centered on suicide prevention. This model recognizes that suicide prevention is an organized community approach, because everyone has a role to play and an interest in the well-being of each of our neighbors. By utilizing key stakeholders in various communities and school environments, MHAMC is involving all levels of your neighborhoods in our efforts to build safety nets for those at-risk for suicide.

MHAMC utilizes a three tier approach which includes the Lifelines curriculum, a nationally recognized evidence based program for youth suicide prevention provided to students, faculty, and parents. Once the schools are trained the focus is turned to building a competent community around those school districts. By working with Key Stakeholders or Community Champions support systems are developed to assist towns in the aftermath of a critical incident or trauma.  The third tier is the offering of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to reduce stigma and promote early intervention.

The CCC model uses the acronym FACTS to educate on the warning signs for suicide: Feelings, Actions, Changes, Threats, and Situations. While there is never one cause for suicide, these critical warning signs come together to create what we call a perfect storm for suicide risk. Ensuring that community members are aware of these warning signs, and also how to get help for those they care about, is the essential shift in building Caring Competent Communities. In doing so, MHAMC is increasing resiliency across Monmouth County. We can then respond to traumatic loss, intervene and assess risk within vulnerable populations, and teach and involve our youth in help-seeking behaviors that can save lives.

These are the changes we notice that can signal that the person needs immediate help. Let’s look at the FACTS warning signs.

  • F- FEELINGS – hopelessness, anxiety, depression, worry or emptiness
  • A- ACTIONS –  doing risky things, aggression, withdrawing from friends or looking online for ways to die
  • C- CHANGES – attitude, behavior, and/or appearance in as little as a 2 week period of time
  • T- THREATS – direct or indirect, every threat MUST be taken seriously!
  • S- SITUATIONS – triggers for the suicide, such as getting into trouble, experiencing a loss, or anticipating a transition or change

If you notice any of these signs, especially in combination, contact a mental health professional immediately. It is important to remember help is available and you are not alone.

Resources are available throughout Monmouth County to provide immediate services, referrals, and support to families and community partners.

For information about Mental Health First Aid, click here

To read about the Lifelines program, click here

Monmouth Medical Center crisis hotline/PESS Department 732.886.4474 or toll free 866.904.4474

National Suicide Prevention Life line number 1-800-273-8255

Mental Health Association of Monmouth County 1-732-542-6422

NJ Hopeline 855-654-6735

Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide 1-732-410 -7900

180 Turning Lives Around 1-888-222-2228, Second Floor Youth Helpline

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