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Special to The News-Courier—
WICHITA FALLS—The Helen Farabee Centers will offer health first aid training in its 19-county area that includes Knox County.
This groundbreaking 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. 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 (MHFA) prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis after they 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 MHFA to the U.S. in 2008. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they may need.”
In just 10 years, MHFA 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.
G. Denise French indicated that the Helen Farabee Centers have provided behavioral health and/or intellectual or developmental disability services for over 10,000 people in North Texas.
“While that may seem like a lot of people served, there are many who are not receiving the services they need,” she continued. “The population for our 19 counties is over 300,000. Statistics show that 18.5% of adults and 20% of children experience mental health illness in a given year. For 300,000 people, that is over 55,000. So, we are reaching less than a fifth of those suffering.
“Helen Farabee Centers does not charge for MHFA, because it is important to us to reach out to those who need help but aren’t receiving it. We can teach it at a school, business church, or any other organization.”
For more information or to setup a free training session, contact French at 940-397-3368 or [email protected]