The Richland County Mental Health Local Advisory Council is offering a training session for those interested in learning Mental Health First Aid. The certification is designed teach people in the general public how to recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health disorder and where and when to get help. Crisis situations that will be covered in the course include suicidal behaviors, acute stress reaction to trauma, panic attacks, acute psychotic behavior and drug overdose.
Jennifer Reid and Richard Evans took a week-long training earlier this year to become certified instructors in Mental Health First Aid. Currently, there are six instructors statewide. Both Reid and Evans indicated that their interest in becoming certified originated from personal experiences of knowing someone close to them who committed suicide.
Reid is a registered nurse at Sidney Health Center and a leader of the local Stephen Ministry group, a non-denominational program that assists individuals who are going through a change in life. Evans is the pastor at Sidney Church of the Nazarene and also serves as the chaplain at Sidney Health Center.
Evans indicated that Montana has almost twice as many suicides as the national average. “Unfortunately, Montana is not equipped to help people with the issues they are facing. This training brings awareness and gives participants an important life-saving tool, the ability to identify and approach those who may be in a crisis situation,” stated Evans.
Reid noted that the training is geared for the general public. “We want people who work in various service industries to become certified. The goal is to open the community’s eyes and learn how to identify someone who is having mental health issues before a crisis occurs. First responders, law enforcement, clergy, hairdressers and bartenders would all benefit from taking the course,” emphasized Reid.
The Mental Health First Aid course will be held on December 12 and 13 at the Richland County Community Services Building in Sidney from 8:00AM to 12:00PM both days. The course is $10 per participant. To register, please call the Richland County Health Department at (406) 433-2207 by December 8.
This project is sponsored by the Eastern Montana Community Mental Health Center, Sidney Health Center and Richland County Health Department and made possible through funding provided by HRSA.