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Home » Opinion » Could You Save A Life?

Could You Save A Life?

Could You Save A Life?

March 14, 2015

Stewart Chase

Would you know what to do if your son or daughter was experiencing depression and/or exhibiting signs of self-injury?  Would you be able to help a co-worker presenting evidence of PTSD?  What would you say to a person you know who says they are thinking about suicide?

We learn CPR to come to the rescue of those with a medical condition-why not learn how to come to the rescue of someone experiencing a mental health crisis?  

With Mental Health First Aid training you can learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness or addiction.  This 8-hour course gives people the tools to help friends, family members, co-workers and others in your community.  Mental Health First Aid training is being offered in Lee's Summit by ReDiscover, with grant funding from the Baptist-Trinity Lutheran Legacy Foundation
Just as CPR training helps a person assist someone following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps the lay person assist an individual in a mental health crisis.  During both situations, the goal is to provide support until appropriate professional help arrives.

Mental Health First Aid is geared towards all people and organizations that make up a community. The course is presented to chambers of commerce, professional associations, hospitals, nursing homes, rotary clubs, parent organizations and other groups.  Professionals who regularly interact with a lot of people (such as first responders, human resource directors, and primary care workers), school and college faculty, faith communities, friends and family of individuals with mental illness or addiction, or anyone interested in learning more about mental illness and addiction should get trained.

There are two course types.  Adult Mental Health First Aid is designed for adults who want to learn how to help an individual experiencing a mental health crisis.  Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis and addictions.  Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with youth (ages 12-18).  This course introduces common mental health challenges for youth and reviews typical adolescent development. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, psychosis, disruptive behavior disorders and eating disorders.

Mental Health First Aid is sweeping the nation with over 310,000 people trained to date in the US.  The success stories are abundant.  Recently, a participant in a Mental Health First Aid class in Illinois received a call from his daughter who was away at college.  She was distraught and in a “very dark place” mentally.  He remembered his training, applied the five-step action plan and was able to talk his daughter through this difficult time.

You may think you will never be in a situation where you will need these skills.  Think again. Mental illness is common, it affects one in five adults in any given year.  You can be prepared anytime, anywhere and you can help anyone in distress.

ReDiscover has certified Mental Health First Aid instructors and is available to bring Mental Health First Aid to your workplace or organization.  For more information about Mental Health First Aid visit mhfamissouri.org or call 816.347.3289.

This article was written by Stewart Chase, Vice President, Operations, Rediscover Mental Health Services in Lee’s Summit and a member of the Lee’s Summit’s Health Education Advisory Board.  The Lee's Summit Health Education Advisory Board is a Mayor-appointed, volunteer board that promotes and advocates community health by assessing health issues, educating the public and government agencies, developing plans to address health issues, encouraging partnerships and evaluating the outcomes. 

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