MENOMINEE — Northpointe Healthcare Systems is joining the national initiative to increase mental health literacy by hosting Mental Health First Aid training program in Menominee County. Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour certification training course designed to give members of the public key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. This 1-day Mental Health First Aid training course is being offered at no cost. Training is scheduled for Jan. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Menominee ISD, 1201 41st Ave., Menominee. Registration is limited. To register for the training, people may contact Kelly Stankevich at 906-779-0510.

The course teaches participants a 5-step action plan to assess a situation or risk, respectfully listening to and supporting the individual, selecting and implementing interventions, and identifying and securing appropriate professional help and other supports for the individual. Participants will learn the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis and psychotic disorders, substance use disorders and self-injury. Participants will also gain an understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reducing stigma in the community. Just as CPR training helps a layperson with no medical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps a layperson assist someone experiencing a mental health problem or a mental health crisis. In both of these situations, the goal is to help support the person until appropriate professional help arrives.

Mental Health First Aid was originally created in Australia in 2001. Due to the strong evidence supporting the program, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare brought Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008 with the goal of making it as common in as traditional First Aid and CPR by the year 2020. Various studies completed on Mental Health First Aid’s impact on mental health literacy have found that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have a better recognition of mental health problems, a greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, and assisting in reducing stigma. The study also found that Mental Health First Aid improved the mental health of the participants themselves.

This training is available to all organizations and members of the public. Specific audiences include non-mental health professionals; such as law enforcement and other first responders, nursing home staff, school and college administration, primary and occupational health care providers, homeless shelters, faith communities, mental health advocacy organizations, community service groups, families and the general public.

Additional information regarding Mental Health First Aid can be obtained by visiting www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org or www.thenationalcouncil.org.