Mental health training an investment in community

Published 9:24 pm Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We all know about the importance of first aid training: from how to administer CPR to how to properly perform the Heimlich maneuver and save someone from choking.
We know it’s important to be able to identify the signs of shock, to stop a bleeding wound, to stabilize a person who may have broken a bone.
But what about the injuries we can’t see on the outside? What about depression? Anxiety? Addiction? We never think about what we can do to help respond to those, but we should.
Mental Health First Aid is a nation-wide in-person training program that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in crisis. East Central Mental Health services here in Pike County recently completed the first training course, certifying some 15 individuals in how to recognize signs of addiction and mental illness; how to understand the impact of mental and substance abuse disorders; how to identify local resources that can provide help; and how to use a five-step action plan to assess a situation and provide help.
The program covers a wide range of mental health issues, from depression to anxiety disorders, psychosis to substance abuse. It provides hands-on, practical advice for individuals who are often unknowingly on the first line of responding to mental health crisis: pastors, first responders, teachers, even your neighbors. And its premise is simple: a low-cost, effective and simple-to-use approach for helping people who are developing a mental health problem or crisis.
The program gives its participants the tools and the confidence needed to provide support and aid to their neighbors in need. And it has been recognized nationally for its effectiveness.
It’s eight hours training wisely invested in the health of our community.
(For more information about upcoming training classes, contact Teresa Kidd at East Central Mental Health, 334-808-2874.)

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