The Crisis Response Team would like to thank those who contributed to most recent training for the community. This effort supports those who would want to be available to respond to a crisis in the schools or in the community. This was our sixth annual event and we appreciate the generosity of Grace Baptist Church, Pastor Mike Van Zee, and some of the women of the church who take such good care of us. Thanks to presenters Julie Brooks, Cocke County Emergency Management, Bob Crane, Tennessee Emergency Management, and Casey Kelley, assistant director of schools, who offered information about local updates about emergency plans and services. Deyoun Majors, from Helen Ross McNabb, presented a touching and personal program about child abuse and neglect called Darkness to Light, where recipients received certificates of course completion. Carter Miller from Cherokee Health Systems, provided an update about crisis services through the mental health center. Members of the committee and also presenters, Kayla Tatum Sharp and Jason Floyd , from Helen Ross McNabb, were helpful at teaching the audience some techniques for helping students or clients how to deal with trauma, called Acute Traumatic Incident Processing. This was valuable and relevant information, and we appreciate the presenters who donated their time, shared their knowledge and contributed to this ongoing process of helping our community prepare to respond to a crisis.

We had about 60 attending and there was a lot of networking among school counselors, social workers, child care workers, emergency responders, some principals, pastors, mental health providers and many more. It’s great to see that we can take this opportunity to share ideas, learn from other and actively pursue the common goal of being conscious, prepared and sensitive to how to help others deal with a crisis. Many report that it is helpful in personal and individual situations as well as in groups or agencies.

Thanks to others who help make this possible and believe in the cause: The Cocke County Health Council, Chairperson Bettye Carver, Smoky Mountain Home Health and Hospice who always donates food, and the committee including Stella Melton from Cherokee Health Systems, Dottie Ford, from Coordinated School Health, Kayla Tatum Sharp, who has taken over the role of directing the committee. And of course, we really appreciated Matt Winter from the Newport Plain Talk who wrote a great article and took interest in documenting our event and project.

I hope we never have to deal with the kind of crises we have all heard about in schools and communities across the country. Of course we pray we never have to deal with a community wide crisis, but it increases confidence and hope that we as a community would be able to respond effectively. We pray for the victims who suffer daily and whose lives are changed by one critical incident.

Throughout my years of community and social work in Cocke County, I have a been a true believer in collaboration; and this is seeing how it can happen!

Kristin Roberts, LCSW, Cofounder of Crisis Response Team

Smoky Mountain Family Therapy

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