HILLSDALE, Ind. — Purdue Extension-Vermillion County will offer Mental Health First Aid training on Sept. 26 at Salem United Methodist Church, 3456 E. 1050 S., Hillsdale, located on Indiana Route 63, across from Elanco.

The eight-hour training course gives people the tools to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.

One in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care, according to An Extension release. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.

Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance-use problems,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008, in the release. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they may need.”

This course is pre-approved for Category 1 Continuing Education for the following professionals:

• Mental health counselors and associates

• Marriage and family therapists and associates

• Social workers, clinical social workers and associates

• Addiction counselors, clinical addiction counselors and associates.

A certificate of completion is awarded and can be used to apply for other continuing education credits.

Registration for the training is required, and must be completed online by Sept. 19, with a maximum number of 30 participants. The registration fee includes the training, workbook and lunch. To register for the upcoming Mental Health First Aid training in Vermillion County, visit http://www.cvent.com/d/s6qxq0.

In just 10 years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States — more than 1 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day.

“The No. 1 one need that I hear folks in the community talk about is regarding mental health. Mental Health First Aid allows regular people — friends, neighbors, sisters, co-workers — to recognize the signs of a mental health illness and to reach out and be a bridge for that person to receive hope and support,” said Tonya Short, Health & Human Sciences Educator for Purdue Extension–Knox County. Short is a trained facilitator for the Mental Health First Aid training.

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For more information contact Lori Bouslog at (765) 492-5332 or lbouslog@purdue.edu, or Tonya Short at (812) 882-3509 or short43@purdue.edu.

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid USA, visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.