Pamunkey Regional Library branches located in Hanover County are providing free medication lock boxes, gun cable locks, drug disposal kits and safety literature to patrons thanks to a unique partnership with the Hanover County Community Services Board (CSB) and Hanover Cares.
The CSB, Hanover’s public mental health provider, is participating in Lock & Talk, a statewide campaign that encourages Virginians to practice medication and gun safety, and talk about mental health to reduce stigma and prevent suicide.
“We are excited about our partnership with the libraries. Together we can more efficiently distribute these resources to Hanover residents,” said Laura Robertson, Behavioral Health Wellness Specialist at the CSB and coordinator of Hanover’s Lock & Talk initiative. “We are also pleased with the many benefits to families these simple safety tools have the potential to provide. When guns are locked and ammunition is secured accidental gun deaths, injuries and suicide by firearm can be prevented. Children and teens cannot fire a locked gun. Furthermore, a locked gun provides protection for adults who may decide to make an attempt. It takes extra time to unlock a gun providing the person an opportunity to reconsider and call for help instead.
In addition to helping prevent a suicide attempt by overdose, locking up medications in a medication lock box or in a cabinet can prevent small children and even pets from accidentally swallowing medications and being poisoned, tweens and teens from experimenting with and misusing medications, and family members or visitors who are recovering from a substance use disorder from feeling tempted to misuse another’s prescription opioid or other medication.”
Octavia Marsh, Executive Director of Hanover Cares, a coalition of community members dedicated to eliminating the use of alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs among Hanover youth, provided the drug disposal kits as part of its Safe Homes initiative. According to Marsh, “Safe Homes is an initiative of the coalition designed to help parents and caregivers of children to establish a clear ‘NO USE’ prevention message for youth through conversation and providing secure storage for any alcohol and prescription & over-the-counter medications. Young people are naturally curious, so securing alcohol and medications in the home may help avoid any temptation and can keep your family safe from risks of substance use and accidental overdose.”
Renee Sottong, branch manager at the Montpelier Branch Library, was the first to create a Lock & Talk display. “We paired the display with training to familiarize staff with local suicide prevention resources, including the Hanover Community Services Board. The response from patrons has been so positive, we’ve actually restocked several times since the first display went up.” Library administrators expanded the initiative to include all Hanover County branches, including Atlee, Mechanicsville, and Ashland.
If you or someone you love has thoughts of suicide, please contact the Hanover County CSB Crisis Team at 804-365-4200 to talk with a mental health professional.
For more information about Lock & talk contact Laura Robertson at [email protected]
Go here to learn more about Hanover Cares.