By Laura Hayes, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – Similar to how CPR helps people when they’re in a medical crisis, the Hudson Health Department is launching a program to help people respond to emotional crises.
That program is called Emotional CPR, and it was introduced to the Hudson Select Board on April 26 by town Director of Public and Community Health, Kelli Calo.
“It basically helps people, guides people on how to react in an emotional crisis,” Calo told the board.
Last fall, the Metrowest Health Foundation put out a call for grant applicants. One of the areas the foundation was looking to promote was emotional health.
In an interview, Calo said the department wanted to apply. Staff began looking into programs before they discovered Emotional CPR, or eCPR.
According to their website, the CPR acronym stands for the three steps in helping someone through an emotional crisis — Connecting, emPowering and Revitalizing.
“What appealed to us is it utilized skills that not many people know, and it teaches us to be a healthy community and react to people in an emotional crisis,” Calo said.
An emotional crisis is different for everyone. But it generally is in reaction to an event, such as the loss of a parent, Calo said.
Program is first of its kind in the country
The Health Department received a $30,000 grant from the Metrowest Health Foundation. Calo said this will allow the department to offer training to adults in multiple sectors of the community, such as the business community, first responders, town department, school staff and the library.
She said her team is also hoping to offer training in Portuguese.
According to Calo, Hudson will be the first community in the country to have multiple sectors trained in eCPR.
Public health, after all, doesn’t work in a silo, Calo said.
“It makes us a more welcoming community,” she said of this kind of collaboration and resource sharing. “We’re better when we work together. So, if we train many different sectors and support people, it makes us more resilient as a community.”
The Hudson Fire Department, in particular, will be trained in the fall.
Fire Chief Bryan Johannes said that as first responders to situations like medical emergencies or building fires, his firefighters frequently interact with people under stress.
“I’m hoping that the eCPR will give us the added tools to help people cope when they’re having probably the worst day of their life,” Johannes said. “Let’s face it. When people call the fire department, it’s an event that doesn’t occur in their life routinely, and they need help now.”
Calo said the training typically lasts for four hours a week for three weeks.
Health Department expands programs for youth
Calo said the Health Department realized that by reaching out to adults in different sectors, they had left out Hudson youth.
So, the health department applied for a grant through the Emerson Hospital Community Benefit Grant Program to fund youth training. The department received its full request of $5,000.
The next step is to recruit kids who are interested.
Anyone interested in receiving training or learning more (including adults and children) can reach out to Youth Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator Lauren Antonelli at [email protected].