Hello and welcome, I'm Skye Patrick ,Director of LA County Library And I'm John Szabo, City Librarian for the Los Angeles Public Library. On behalf of both of us, as well as the California State Library, welcome to our Mental Health Initiative video series. California is the home to nearly 40 million people. Our state is considered to be one of the most culturally, economically and socially diverse in the world. That presents both an opportunity and a challenge. Stepping up to that challenge in a unique way are our public libraries. Libraries are true bastions of democracy and welcome everyone through their doors. Here every person can get connected to the resources they need to learn, grow, create, engage with others and achieve their dreams. The heartbeat of any community is its public library and at the heart of every library are the librarians. These dedicated professionals help customers from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds with their needs, aspirations and curiosity and they do it consistently with skill, kindness and professionalism.
But today libraries and librarians across the country are facing a unique challenge. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five Americans experience some form of mental health challenge during their lifetimes. The spectrum can include schizophrenia, bipolar conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder severe depression and more. These disorders can be incapacitating. When customers struggling with these issues visit our libraries, they can require or even demand special attention. They may also have special needs or exhibit disruptive behaviors that stretch the limit of the library's mission and go beyond the scope of a librarian's resources or expertise.
This 8-part video series has been created to provide the tools and training to help librarians better serve this population. Each module integrates the perspective of many experts, mental health practitioners, social workers, members of law enforcement and of course, librarians themselves. This series has been designed as one whole unit but several of the modules can also function as standalone episodes to enhance the State Library's Mental Health Initiative. Our goal is that all librarians and library staff will learn valuable tools and lessons from this series and feel more confident in being able to compassionately serve the special needs of the diverse and changing world that is at our door.
On behalf of the LA County Library, the Los Angeles Public Library and the California State Library we acknowledge all librarians for their professionalism, dedication and heart that each one of you brings to your job every day. Libraries would not be the vibrant and trusted institutions they are without you. We deeply respect and appreciate your partnership and commitment. We look forward to continuing to serve alongside you, thank you. Please continue now to Establishing a Positive Staff Culture around Mental Health, thank you..