#AdvocacyMatters: Become Certified in Mental Health First Aid

March 18, 2022 / #AdvocacyMatters

Most Ohioans would know what to do if someone had a physical need for first aid, like a heart-attack or seizure. Even if you weren’t trained in CPR, you would know that a great first step is to remain with the victim and call 9-1-1. However, many people would not know how to handle a similar situation if it involved mental health. Many times, the stigma surrounding conversations about mental health is enough to keep bystanders from stepping in during a crisis or conversation. Toolkits and skills for care during a mental health crisis are vitally important to the collective community in Ohio and beyond, and deserve the same attention as basic first aid training.

When we engaged with our community to develop our annual goals and objectives, we knew that strengthening and expanding the community mental health system would be at the top of our priorities. One piece of this is reducing stigma and educating. In our February 25th #AdvocacyMatters piece, we reminded you that 25% of Ohioans have a mental health diagnosis. Additionally, we shared with you our core belief in our March 11th #AdvocacyMatters piece that training for mental health and substance abuse should always de-escalate crisis events. These statistics connect to people with names, families and stories that demand to be heard and given space for change.

Between the initiatives created with the PAIMI Advisory Council and the continued mental health resources available on our website, we have come a long way in actualizing our goal. However, we know the work will never stop, and never be lacking in need. This is why DRO Board Member Bill Bauer has helped to bring us the Northwest Ohio Mental Health First Aid Training, set to take place on April 27, 2022.

The NW Ohio MH First Aid Training will create a space to reduce stigmas of mental health, address common concerns, and teach strategies for recognizing and helping with mental health and substance abuse. The event is set to take place in Maumee Ohio, at the Auditorium at Maumee, Toledo Library and will be a hybrid course of both online and in-person exercises. The event will also empower trainees to provide self-help strategies for continued mental wellbeing to those within their community. Participants will take part in a 2 hour online module before the event, followed by a 4 hour in person training. By the end of the training, twenty participants will have certification in Mental Health First Aid and will also receive CEU credit.

To expand the reach of this event, DRO will also be including materials in Spanish with the assistance of a Spanish language interpreter for any participants who will need one, along with typical accessibility measures to ensure the event is inclusive for a wider audience. The success of such a training is only made stronger with multiple perspectives, backgrounds and stories at the table.

We believe that every Ohioan has the right to quality mental health care. It is imperative that we reduce stigma, and understand how to help those who may be dealing with mental health needs in a caring, compassionate and thoughtful way. First aid training in mental health helps participants learn to assess for risk of self-harm, listen nonjudgmentally, and encourage the appropriate professional help. It also provides needed connection to local providers, community services and national resources available for support. According to the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, the national organization that supports this initiative, more than 2 million people have now been trained in Mental Health First Aid. If you live in the Maumee Ohio area and would like to participate in this program, you can register to attend here: bit.ly/nwmhregister.

If #AdvocacyMatters to Ohioans like we know it does, it’s far past time to get more people professionally trained in the type of first aid that can de-stigmatize mental health in our communities.

Read this article in Spanish here: https://disabilityrightsohio.org/news/ladefensaimporta-primeros-auxilios-para-la-salud-mental

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