Carle Richland Memorial Hospital is dedicated to bringing more mental health services to the communities we serve. One way we are looking to expand knowledge of mental health issues is to help make local businesses and community members aware of how to help an individual who appears to be in a mental health crisis.
Recently, Leslie Shan, Mental Health Therapist and Terri Priest, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), participated in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training at The Carle Foundation in Urbana. Participants completed a three-day training course consisting of a written exam and giving a 30-minute presentation in front of peers and National Trainers to complete the certification. Now they are using their newfound skills to speak to local organizations and businesses and set up trainings in our eight-county service area.
“This is a priority right now. We need to educate our communities about mental health and break the stigma,” Shan said.
Shan is doing several outreach opportunities to talk with local groups with a basic overview of the class and what participants will be learning. Similar to traditional first aid, MHFA provides help to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a crisis until they obtain a higher level of professional treatment or the crisis resolves.
“The training covers risk factors and warning signs of mental illness and addictions, as well as information on available treatment options. Upon completion of the course, participants will better understand the impact of mental illness and addiction on a person, their family and the community,” Shan said.
There are no specific skills needed to take the class. Trainees typically include individuals from schools, law enforcement, faith-based communities, hospital and nursing home staff and families.
Since the MHA introduction in Richland and surrounding counties, the pair has steadily increased the number of classes they offer for adults or youth.
Visit carle.org/mhfa to enroll in an upcoming course.
To schedule a training for a business, organization, church or school group contact Leslie Shan at (618) 392-1486.