Dealing with Patrons with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Behavioral and Medical Events

Dealing with Patrons with Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders: Behavioral and Medical Events
A "Safe Library" webinar, part of the Library 2.0 Service, Safety, and Security Series with Dr. Steve Albrecht


It’s no secret that mental health issues, alone or mixed with substance abuse, can affect patron behaviors in the library. The questions for leaders and staff: Once we recognize these behaviors, what do we do about them? How do we keep staff and other patrons safe? What is a police issue versus a medical issue?

Mental health concerns range from: depression (which is anger turned inward and can make people anxious, angry, sad, and volatile); trauma history (fear, anxiety, rage, depression, fear of violence and the use of it); antisocial behaviors (lying, manipulation, boundary problems, threats); psychosis (out of touch with reality, fearful, delusional); bi-polar (grandiose, manic, depressed); and spectrum disorders (which many chronically homeless people have).

Today, the biggest concern about substance use in the library relates to opiate drugs in general and fentanyl overdoses in particular. Many libraries have seen a dramatic increase in overdose symptoms among patrons. We’ll talk about the cyclical nature of alcohol abuse, marijuana toxicity symptoms, the “new methamphetamine,” and the medical and behavioral issues with opiates and fentanyl.

The function of this session is not to make staff into clinicians or pharmacologists but to help them see why some patrons behave and act out in certain ways that can be stressful to both parties. This knowledge can increase staff's patience, empathy, understanding, listening skills, and situational control; and can help them create better boundaries and initiate better service.

This 60-minute training webinar is presented by Library 2.0 and hosted by trainer, author, and library service, safety, and security expert, Dr. Steve Albrecht.

A handout copy of the presentation slides will be available to all participants.


  • Defining the “Trauma-Informed Library Community.”
  • Why do patrons with mental health or substance use issues go to the library?
  • Knowing the three-type criteria for gravely mentally ill patrons.
  • Setting better boundaries for patrons with mental health concerns.
  • Providing safe service to patrons under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Safety precautions with found narcotics or drug paraphernalia.

DATE: Thursday, June 15th, 2023, at 2:00 pm US - Eastern Time


  • $99/person - includes any-time access to the recording and the presentation slides and receiving a participation certificate. To arrange group discounts (see below), to submit a purchase order, or for any registration difficulties or questions, email
  • FREE for those on individual or group all-access passes (see below).


Click above to register and pay. You can pay by credit card, and will receive an email within a day with information on how to attend the webinar live and how you access the permanent webinar recording. If you are paying for someone else to attend, you'll be prompted to send an email to with the name and email address of the actual attendee.

If you have any trouble registering for a webinar, if you need to be invoiced or pay by check, or if you have any questions, please email

NOTE: please check your spam folder if you don't receive your confirmation email within a day.

SPECIAL GROUP RATES (email to arrange):

  • Multiple individual log-ins and access from the same organization paid together: $75 each for 3+ registrations, $65 each for 5+ registrations. Unlimited and non-expiring access for those log-ins.
  • The ability to show the webinar (live or recorded) to a group located in the same physical location or in the same virtual meeting from one log-in: $299.
  • Large-scale institutional access for viewing with individual login capability: $499 (hosted either at Library 2.0 or in Niche Academy). Unlimited and non-expiring access for those log-ins.


  • All-access annual passes include unlimited access to the recordings of all of Dr. Albrecht's previous Library 2.0 webinars, plus live and recorded access to his new webinars for one year. These are hosted either at Library 2.0 or Niche Academy (if preferred).
  • For a $499 individual all-access annual pass to all of Dr. Albrecht's live webinars and recordings for one year, please click here
  • Inquiries for all-access organizational contracts should be directed to

Since 2000, Dr. Steve Albrecht has trained thousands of library employees in 28+ states, live and online, in service, safety, and security. His programs are fast, entertaining, and provide tools that can be put to use immediately in the library workspace with all types of patrons.

In 2015, the ALA published his book, Library Security: Better Communication, Safer Facilities. His new book, The Safe Library: Keeping Users, Staff, and Collections Secure, was just published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Steve holds a doctoral degree in Business Administration (D.B.A.), an M.A. in Security Management, a B.A. in English, and a B.S. in Psychology. He is board-certified in HR, security management, employee coaching, and threat assessment.

He has written 25 books on business, security, and leadership topics. He lives in Springfield, Missouri, with six dogs and two cats.

His professional website is