Walk the Talk America has created a first of its kind cultural competence course for mental health professionals. This three-part course focuses on statistics about firearm suicides, the myths and stigma surrounding gun ownership as it relates to the overall hesitation gun owners express about seeking mental health treatment. They also learn about three basic components of the firearms culture in America: beliefs, behaviors, and activities. After that, they receive elementary knowledge on the function, handling, use, and storage of firearms through both classroom instruction and a live-fire experience on the range. We’ve gathered some of the submitted feedback gathered from attendees to hear what they had to say.

How did mental health professionals’ minds change after attending one of our trainings?

“Understanding the difference between the guns and society’s perception on them. This was very helpful and helped to change my own misperceptions [sic] about guns.”

“I think I’ve wrongly assumed that a lot of ‘capable cultures’ don’t really want the help of mental health professionals and that it’s been the mental health field interjecting itself into their lives through HR departments, etc. It’s enlightening to realize that there are real barriers to care as a result of stigma, shame, and a true fear of lack of confidentiality that keeps these individuals from seeking help that they otherwise would desire.”

“Moving from extreme anti-[2nd Amendment] to being more moderate”

“Nothing changed my mind. I am a firearms advocate and a Board Certified Mental Health Coach. The two areas need to join together.”

“My mind didn’t change. I am totally with you on this.”

“I realized gun companies might be more interested in getting involved and partnering mental health. I didn’t think they would be before.”

What feedback do we get from mental health professionals after our training?

“This was a great course and it opened my eyes to my own biases around gun culture. It helped bridge the gap for me in understanding why people are so passionate about keeping their guns. I am going to encourage some of my colleagues to take this class, too.”

“That there is a need for [mental health] staff to understand firearms culture and basic functioning.”

“I tend to lean more to the ‘pry it from my hands’ side, but this course helped me be a lot more accepting [of] actionable steps to encourage safety.”

“This type of training should be ongoing to eventually spread to schools, and community type groups and organizations.”

“Thank you so much for all who put this course and video together. This is truly amazing and I cannot believe it exists — you are doing incredibly valuable work. You must all feel so fulfilled to work together and for this organization, for a cause that is so important. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!”