First Aid Mental Health trainings offered for MU community

Nadine Fox, Staff writer

n an emergency—for example, if someone is having a heart attack—typically you will find someone who already knows CPR, or at the very least, would know how to call 9-1-1. However, very few people are informed how to respond if we saw someone having a panic attack or concerned that a friend
or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism. This is where Mental Health First Aid comes in to start conversations about mental health and substance use problem. It improves an individual’s understanding and provides an action plan to teach people how to safely and responsibly identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder. The Mercyhurst Department of Nursing and individuals from the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) will host a number of free training sessions for Mental Health First Aid certification (MHFA). Both students and employees are welcome to attend these sessions that will be held throughout the spring. Those interested should plan on attending both sessions to complete their certification. The first set of sessions will be held Tuesday, March 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. as well as Thursday, March 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There will be another set of training sessions on Tuesday, March 28, from 3 to 7 p.m. and Thursday, March 30, from 3 to 7 p.m. As well as on Saturday, March 18, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which will be just one session. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you will learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations and where to turn for help. The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan includes assessing for risk of suicide or harm, listening non-judgmentally, giving reassurance, encouraging appropriate professional help, encouraging self-help and other
support strategies. Students will learn how to apply the Mental Health First Aid action plan in a variety of situations, including when someone is experiencing: panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, non-suicidal self-injury, Acute psychosis (e.g., hallucinations or delusions) and overdose or withdrawal from alcohol or drug use. Mental Health First Aid was created in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy
professor. Together they ran a national nonprofit health promotion charity program in Australia focused on training and research. Now, Mental Health First Aid has been adapted to the U.S.
and many other countries. If you have more interest in this event, reach out to Nicole Moore, an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Mercyhurst University who has over 12 years of experience working with individuals living with serious mental illness and experiencing crisis situations herself. This is a great opportunity for the Mercyhurst community to ensure that people can be
prepared for any mental health scare if it were to come up.