The goal of Mental Health First Aid is to increase mental health literacy. Like CPR training helps a non-medical professional assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps an individual who doesn’t have clinical training assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. In both situations, the goal is to help support an individual until appropriate professional help arrives, with the added underlying intention to promote health literacy.

In Georgia, over 2.3 MILLION people face the challenge of living with mental illness.   Suicide is the 9th most common cause of death, taking more lives than homicide!  In fact, among Georgia youth and young adults ages 15-24, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death. Each year, almost 1,000 Georgians of all ages die by suicide and about 18,000 seek emergency care for injuries related to suicide attempts.

Recognizing signs and symptoms of mental illness and intervening early can save lives.  That’s where Mental Health First Aid is key! Mental Health First Aid is important for anyone who meets the public during the workday-- church or nonprofit employees and volunteers, teachers and school administrators, are just a few of the groups for whom this training could make an enormous difference in the lives of those they serve and work with.

In the 12 hour course, participants learn a five-step process to assess a situation, select and implement appropriate interventions and help a person developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in crisis receive appropriate care. The action plan taught in MHFA helps to identify symptoms that are commonly ignored, and are assumed to just go away.

With today’s stresses and pressures, you might be working with or know someone who is suffering from a mental illness or who is in a crisis situation.   In the next decade, we expect Mental Health First Aid in the US will become as common as CPR and First Aid. It has the potential to reduce stigma, improve mental health literacy, and empower individuals – the benefits are limitless!

 

If your community group, organization, or business is interested in receiving Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health America of Georgia is here to provide it.  Please contact Ellyn Jeager, ellyn@mhageorgia.org or 678-904-1965 to schedule training.

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