Monday, August 24, 2009

Mental Health First Aid Training

Press Release – August 24, 2009
For information contact: Wendy Neuman, program monitor and training assistant, at 815-455-2828, c/o McHenry County Mental Health Board, 620 Dakota Street, Crystal Lake, IL 60012.

Mental Health Board offers free Mental Health First Aid Training

On September 28 and 29 the McHenry County Mental Health Board (MHB) is offering a special Mental Health First Aid Training class for the faith-based communities of McHenry County. The program is designed to increase mental health literacy and teach skills that will facilitate non mental health professionals to help individuals who are developing a mental health problem or are experiencing a mental health crisis.

Comparable to First Aid for physical problems, Mental Health First Aid is a 12 hour public education program designed for community groups, law enforcement and other emergency responders, school staff, businesses, and the general public so they can identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.

“Training for Mental Health First Aid teaches important skills and also helps in reducing the stigma associated with mental illness,” said Wendy Neuman, MHB program monitor and training assistant. “A general lack of knowledge about mental health problems adds to the stigma that may prevent people from seeking help, and it prevents people from providing support.”

Mental health problems are very common, with the most common being depression, anxiety disorders, and psychotic disorders. Frequently substance abuse is a co-occurring problem. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one of every four adults is affected by a diagnosable mental illness in any given year.

“Education reduces people’s fear of the unknown,” said Neuman. “It helps reduce the stigma that is reinforced in films and stories, and sometimes by the media.”

The mental health problems discussed include depression, anxiety, and psychotic disorders. Participants will learn about the symptoms, possible risk factors, and where and how to get help.

For information about the class targeted for faith-based communities, to arrange a class designed for another group, or for general information, contact Wendy Neuman at 815-455-2828.

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