Compiled by: Michael Lynch, Electronic Media Producer, College of Nursing

Mental Health First AidAccording to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI), one out of four Americans is affected by mental illness.

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program to help participants become aware of the risk factors and warning signs of mental illness. Like CPR and regular First Aid training, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. The program teaches participants a five step action plan, offers concrete tools and answers key questions, like “what do I do?,” “where can someone find help?” and “who is at risk of suicide or harm?” The training also integrates role-playing, and simulations to give participants the skills to help someone who is exhibiting signs of mental illness or experiencing a mental health crisis.

College students in particular face unique situations that may increase stress levels.

Many find it difficult to find the balance between school, work and their social lives. Some of these students are away from the support of family and familiar friends for the first time in their lives.

The National Council for Behavioral Health states that the top reason students don’t use mental health resources is a lack of knowledge that those resources are available. Working in a higher education setting gives us a unique opportunity to engage these students when we recognize warning signs. With proper training, we can offer immediate assistance in times of crisis and direct them to resources on campus where they can get help without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.

Mental Health First Aid is a valuable resource that is a low cost, high-impact program that has been shown to be effective in generating awareness and support for those struggling with mental illnesses, addictions and suicidal thoughts.

Mental Health First Aid Training, October 16

Faculty and staff are invited to sign up for Mental Health First Aid with trainer John Murphy on October 16, in SCF 250 from 8:30am – 5pm (½ hour lunch break, lunch provided). The training is limited to the first 25 people. Sign up at here.