Mental health first aid training set

NAMI PA Blair County will offer mental health first aid instructor training from June 12 to 16 at the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center.

This groundbreaking eight-hour course gives people the tools to identify when someone is experiencing a mental health or substance use problem and connect them with appropriate support and resources.

According to NAMI, one in four Americans experiences a mental illness each year, but many are reluctant to seek help or simply don’t know where to turn for care.

Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect and it can be hard for friends and family members to know when and how to step in. Thus, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.

Just as CPR training has saved millions of lives, Mental Health First Aid prepares laypeople to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis.

Mental Health First Aid students learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the United States in 2008.

“When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they need.”

In just eight years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the U.S. — more than 600,000 people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day.

NAMI PA Blair County commits its dedication to Mental Health First Aid as an effective way to offer valuable support, reduce stigma and save lives.

The need continues for public education, and NAMI is proud of its affiliation with Mental Health First Aid in Blair County since 2012.

For more information, to participate in Mental Health First Aid training or to schedule a Mental Health First Aid Class for your group or organization, contact Sara McConnell, executive director of NAMI Blair County, at 943-0414, ext. 3065, or mhfa.blairnami@gmail.com.