Community Friends Mental Health

Support Training Program

Do others turn to you for emotional support? Do you enjoy giving that support? Would you like to be even more effective and reach more people? If so, sign up for the Community Friends Mental Health Support Training.

Managing Psychological Stress during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Free Mental Health Support Training Offered

    A month ago, 50 Ways Rockbridge Community Aid was launched to address local needs caused by the COVID-19 crisis. Our goal was to match up those in need with those ready to help.

    Within days, more than 100 volunteers signed up. Volunteers have delivered groceries for those too vulnerable to go to the store. They’ve sewn hundreds of masks or provided funds for the materials to make them. They’ve provided information on issues like eviction rights and low-cost internet access.


      It’s been wonderful to watch our community spring into action.


      The challenges keep coming, however.


    Mental health professionals around the country warn that prolonged social distancing restrictions, while necessary, will affect the emotional well-being of our friends, neighbors, and ourselves. Human beings are social animals, and anxiety, depression, and loneliness are happening already.

     How can we help now?

     We can learn to recognize the signs of suffering and learn simple tools for coping. We can do this for ourselves, for our family members near and far, and--for those who are willing to volunteer--we can start to offer phone-based mental health support.

     With the help of local psychiatrist Dr. Kirk Luder and mental health professionals from the Rockbridge Area

Dr. Kirk Luder

Health Center and the Rockbridge Community Services Board, 50 Ways Rockbridge is launching a free Community Friends Mental Health Support Training Program

    The program is modeled after the highly successful peer counseling program Dr. Luder created at Washington & Lee, where students are coached to become counselors for their fellow undergraduates.

    The program will cover such topics as:

  • An overview of emotional responses to pandemic emergency

  • Defining your role, and how to effectively help

  • Managing anxiety: lifestyle strategies, mindfulness, relaxation responses

  • Building resilience: building positive emotions, learned optimism)

  • Special circumstances: family conflict, financial distress, addiction recognition

  • Resources and referrals: recognizing and responding when someone needs professional help

    The training is about seven to eight hours long. Dr. Luder and his colleagues will teach live, via Zoom, on one or two separate days. If you cannot attend one or both sessions, the training will be taped so you can watch at your convenience.

    Won't you please consider joining this important effort? Sign up here.

Many thanks,
The Board of 50 Ways Rockbridge

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50 Ways Rockbridge is a group of concerned citizens from Rockbridge County, Virginia, working together to research, educate, and act on major issues that affect all of the 50 United States, especially Virginia and our local area. Our guiding political principles are inclusion and fairness.

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