Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is an in-person training for anyone who wants to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, including risk factors and warning signs. This 8-hour training teaches participants a 5-step action plan to help a person in crisis connect with professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
Mental Health First Aid is appropriate for a variety of professionals working in primary and behavioral healthcare integration settings. The training can help those who regularly engage with individuals who may experience mental health challenges and is most appropriate for audiences with no prior training or experience with mental health or substance use. Using scenarios and role playing, participants are given the opportunity to practice their new skills and gain confidence in helping others who may be developing a mental health or substance use challenge, or those in distress.
Community behavioral health and health centers provide the training to community partners, frontline staff, volunteers, and other concerned citizens.
For more on how Mental Health First Aid can complement your integration efforts, check out our issue of eSolutions on Mental Health First Aid.
Rural Mental Health First Aid
Why Mental Health First Aid in Rural Communities?
Nearly 20% of people in the U.S.. live in a rural area. The challenges faced by rural residents are significantly different than those in urban areas. Rural populations are often underserved and experience notable health and behavioral health disparities. Rural communities have a chronic shortage of behavioral health providers and limited access to services.
Mental Health First Aid can address these disparities by increasing mental health literacy (i.e., knowledge and beliefs about mental disorders that aid their recognition, management or prevention) among key community members – creating a stronger, more prepared network of support for rural Americans.
Rural Mental Health First Aid is a way to build your community's capacity to identify mental health and substance use issues early and for rural residents to gain confidence in intervening and referring a person to the resources that exist. Rural communities have a long history of being innovative and taking responsibility. Mental Health First Aid is a way to increase the basic knowledge about mental health and substance use issues and to decrease the negative perceptions often associated with these issues.
Mental Health First Aid's rural efforts address the unique characteristics of rural areas, recognize the community of rural Mental Health First Aid instructors, and enhance community capacity around behavioral health issues in rural areas.
How Can I Get my Community Involved?
Communities interested in learning about bringing the training course to their area should review CIHS' rural Quick Start Guide on getting started.
Find out if there is already an instructor near you who can deliver the course to your community. Be sure to check for the blue “rural” icon on their profile.
Mental Health First Aid in Spanish
CIHS supported the adaptation of the Mental Health First Aid USA curriculum for Spanish-speaking populations across the US. Adapted materials include a participant manual, teaching notes manual, program PowerPoint, course films, and all course handouts and exercises.
Throughout the summer of 2012, a panel of native Spanish-speaking instructors from a variety of cultural backgrounds and geographic regions in the U.S. reviewed and tested the adaptation for linguistic and cultural resonance. The adaptation allows for bilingual and bicultural instructors from across the U.S. to provide the training to the nation's large Spanish-speaking populace who previously could not attend the training because of the language barrier.