Petersburg Pilot -


Green Dot intervention classes to begin next week


Petersburg Mental Health Services (PMHS) is looking for volunteers to sign up for its bystander training class that will be held next week as part of it’s community wide ‘Green Dot Campaign.’

The campaign, launched in early February, is part of a larger PMHS state grant and the outcome of a community wide assessment survey on alcohol related risks, which cited domestic violence as the number one perceived problem caused by alcohol abuse in Petersburg.

Green Dot, etc. is an organization that aims to measurably and systematically reduce power-based personal violence in communities including partner violence, sexual violence, stalking, bullying, child abuse or elder abuse.

Senior PMHS Clinician Kim Kilkenny said the green dot represents an individual or bystander’s choice to intervene when they know personal violence is happening. She said although teaching people about consent, self-defense classes and other measures potential victims can take to avoid violent situations, it’s also up to the community to stand up for others.

“We can't just put all the responsibility on the victim,” Kilkenny said. “Bystanders are usually there.”

Kilkenny said there are three ways to intervene, which the Green Dot program calls the three D’s. Directly, Delegate and Distract. Each method works depending on the situation and the personality of the individual who can stand up for someone.

Kilkenny said using the distraction method tends to work well in smaller communities like Petersburg.

“In a small town we tend to not intervene because we’re related to them, or we know them,” Kilkenny said. “Or we think it's best to stay out of their business. But it can be as simple as standing between two people if they’re arguing.”

Bystander intervention classes will be taught next Monday and Wednesday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“We will simulate real situations, explore what our personal barriers are to intervening and what are ways we can address situations that happen in life,” Kilkenny said.

Call PMHS to register. As of Monday, nine people had signed up for the class and there is room for 15.


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