Mental Health

Serving Patrons with Mental Health Challenges: Strategies, Community Resources, and Mental Health Advocacy at Your Library with Dawn Behrend

The National Alliance on Mental Health estimates that 1 in 5 people in the United States, from adolescents to elderly adults, suffer from a mental disorder. Libraries often serve as the hub of their communities, particularly for those who are facing societal inequities. Librarians in all settings are likely to encounter patrons with mental health needs and would benefit from learning more about common mental health disorders and how they may present in their patrons. This presentation will provide an overview of common mental disorders, strategies for managing challenging patron interactions, information about community mental health resources, and tips for promoting mental health awareness in the library. 

Dawn Behrend is an Instruction and Outreach Librarian at Lenoir-Rhyne University, where she serves as the liaison for psychology, counseling, mathematics, computer science, and business in addition to outreach. She holds a B.A. in Psychology, M.A. in Clinical Psychology, Master of Business Administration, and Master of Library Science. Ms. Behrend has worked for 20+ years in North Carolina as a Licensed Psychological Associate and is a second career librarian. Ms. Behrend continues to work part-time in private practice where she specializes in psychological evaluations.

Trauma-Informed Approach for Libraries with Tiffany Russell

Understanding how trauma impacts the lives of people we serve can help library staff better serve everyone, even our most vulnerable patrons. Being trauma-informed and using a trauma-informed approach can assist libraries in being proactive in creating safe spaces for everyone in our community. Join this conversation to learn more about providing a trauma informed service in your library. 

Tiffany Russell, LMSW is a licensed clinical social worker. She received her BSW & MSW from Western Michigan University. She has been in the social work field for 17 years. Tiffany has experience in community mental health and is a trailblazer in the emerging field of library social work. She has conducted trainings for library staff, facilitated workshops and participated in several webinars for libraries across the country. Her passion is to create safe spaces for difficult conversations. Topics such as mental health, self-care, and diversity, spark fire in Tiffany’s eyes and soul. Additionally, she is a part-time instructor for Western Michigan University’s School of Social Work. She resides in Southwest Michigan with her spouse, children, and chocolate lab.

Research and Rescue: Steps to Creating a Roadmap of Self-Care with Sarah Fischer

Have you had a recent hospitalization or new medical diagnosis? How are you handling it? A health scare, especially during a sustained global pandemic, can be a unique and lonely experience. If you or someone you know is experiencing this, you are not alone. Travel with me and learn ways to integrate digital NNLM resources and create a roadmap of self-care that connects your physical, emotional, and intellectual health.

Sarah Fischer is the Community Engagement and Outreach Strategist for Region 2 of the Network of National Library of Medicine (NNLM) headquartered at MUSC. In this role, she engages with existing members and recruits new ones, and serves as the MLA Disaster Information Specialist for the Region. Sarah joins MUSC with more than fifteen years of community engagement and organizing experience in local, regional, and international landscapes and contexts. In her free time, she can be found exploring new neighborhoods, sampling culinary specialties, practicing hot yoga, and traveling. Education: • MA International and Intercultural Communication, University of Denver, Denver (2011) • BA French, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1997) Selected Publications: • Fischer, Sarah. 2011. “Amazigh Legitimacy through Language in Morocco.” Human Rights & Human Welfare, 23-45. Retrieved from