Clark Countians participate in Mental Health First Aid training

About eight local workers participated in a two-day Mental Health First Aid training last week. 

The training concluded Friday at Mountain Comprehensive Care Center and covered a wide range of topics in relation to mental health. Matthew Harvey, an outpatient therapist and licensing supervisor at Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, led the training. 

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. 

Harvey said the training gives participants the skills they need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

According to its website, Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor, created Mental Health First Aid in 2001. Organizers then brought the curriculum to the U.S. and have now taught more than 1.5 million people.

Patricia Stewart-Hopkins, regional director of program development for Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, said the training is part of a community effort to bring awareness and educate people on mental health. 

Stewart-Hopkins also invited community members to attend the next Clark County Mental Health Task Force meeting, 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at 273 Shoppers Drive. 

“Everyone interested in promoting mental health and wellness is invited to attend,” Stewart-Hopkins said.  

The task force is also partnering with the Clark County Health Department to host a Youth Mental Health First Aid training 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 28 at 114 S. Maple St.

“The Clark County Mental Health Task Force, in partnership with Mountain Comprehensive Care Center, is taking action to better prepare people to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis,” Stewart-Hopkins said. “The Mental Health First Aid training offered will increase awareness and action towards helping others in our community. Those who seek and receive help towards healing and recovery today will pave the way for the help and healing of tomorrow.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email lashana.harney@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0015.

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