There is a popular myth that the average person can’t do anything to help someone with a mental health problem.
The Mental Health First Aid training offered at Jamestown Community College on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, November 14 and 15, will not only disprove that myth, it will give you the tools to possibly save a life.
Mental Health First Aid is a national program that aims to help people recognize signs of substance use disorder or depression or disordered eating in others, and then show how and when to encourage those suffering to get help. Even more, it aims to help people overcome their fear of getting involved. These steps have saved lives of the mentally ill as well as others.
The fact is that friends and loved ones can make a big difference. According to mentalhealth.gov, only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
- Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
- Helping them access mental health services
- Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true
- Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
- Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as “crazy”
Based on the principle that early intervention encourages people to seek help, the MHFA program is designed to give community members the skills to help or intervene in a crisis. It increases the understanding that mental illnesses and substance misuse are real, common, and treatable and teaches ways to connect to the appropriate professional, peer, or self-help program.
In the training you will be introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, learn about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies, and engage in activities that build understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families. Role playing will make it easier to apply these skills in a real-life situation.
You can learn more about Mental Health First Aid at mentalhealthfirstaid.org.
The eight-hour class will be held in JCC’s Katharine Jackson Carnahan Center. Instructors are certified Mental Health First Aid trainers Kia Narraway-Briggs and Steven Cobb, Executive Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the Mental Health Association in Chautauqua County (MHA).
The fee for the MHFA course is $79. To register, call JCC’s Continuing Education Center at (716) 338-1005.
The MHA is staffed by certified peer specialists who provide recovery coaching. More than two dozen peer support groups meet weekly at the MHA, where participants can talk with others about concerns. All services and programs are free. The MHA is located at the Gateway Center, 31 Water Street, Door #14, Jamestown, N.Y.