Mental Health First Aid Classes Provide Tools To Help Others

Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare launched the first Mental Health First Aid program in Nassau County, Florida. The non-profit behavioral health agency in Yulee has begun training local residents to improve mental health literacy by helping them identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness in 2014.

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Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid

The National Council certified two staff members at Starting Point Behavioral Health to provide the Mental Health First Aid program through an instructor certification course. Training classes are offered for first responders, law enforcement officers, educators, health care workers and other members of the public.

Like First Aid or CPR training, the Mental Health First Aid program teaches individuals skills they can use to help someone in a crisis and know how to direct them to professional intervention or care.

“I originally attended the Mental Health First Aid training for work and I never expected that it would also help me in my personal life. My mother passed away a couple of months ago and my dad moved in with me. Throughout the training, I started to recognize signs that my dad may be struggling with depression. He has been isolating himself in his room and not wanting to leave the house much or join family meals. What I learned through this training helped me to reach my dad in a way that I had not been able to before.

Through Katrina’s guidance and suggestions from the group of participants, I was able to go home the very same day and talk through what I learned with my dad. I offered to go with him to the doctor and grief counseling and he agreed to go. He even said he would join us at the beach the next day to get out of the house for a bit and get some sunshine, which he has never done before! My son also has behavioral challenges and what I learned from this training will not only help me at work, but it will also help me be a better daughter and a better mother. I am so grateful for what I gained from this training and I would recommend anyone to take this course!” – Dawn F.

photo of January 27, 2017 graduates of mental health first aid class

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour training certification course that teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual. The certification program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments. Thorough evaluations in randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proved the CPR-like program effective in improving trainees’ knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma and increasing the amount of help provided to others.

Learn more about the national Mental Health First Aid program. Register for a Mental Health First Aid class. See our Gallery of photos and class graduations. Be 1 in a Million Mental Health First Aiders!