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Thursday, July 19, 2018 at Asbury UMC
921 Des Moines Street
Webster City, IA
Questions: Kathi Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org
7:45am - Check In
8:00am to 12:00 - Session 1
12:00 to 12:30pm - Lunch (donation requested to the church for providing lunch, snacks and beverages)
12:30 to 4:00pm - Session 2
What is Mental Health First Aid?
Most of us would know how to help if we saw someone having a heart attack—we’d start CPR, or at the very least, call 9-1-1. But too few of us know how to respond if we see someone having a panic attack or if we were concerned that a friend or co-worker might be showing signs of alcoholism or a suicide attempt.
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you 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. Mental Health First Aid takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to safely and responsibly identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder.
Note:Mental Health First Aid does not equip participants to be a trained mental health or substance abuse professional or remove the need for referral to a professional or emergency intervention. However, the hope of the IAUMC Mental Health Task Force is that this training will provide laity, clergy and community partners with the skills to begin having meaningful conversations in their communities and help identify signs that a person or their family is in need of assistance and the appropriate professional to refer to.
Who Should Attend?
Mental Health First Aiders are anyone who wants to make their community healthier, happier and safer for all. The IAUMC Mental Health Task Force and Bishop Laurie Haller encourage all clergy, laity and community partners who want to make a difference in mental health reform in Iowa to attend. Please note, the attendance to these events is limited to best allow for participant involvement, but as each session fills up in a district, the Mental Health Task Force will work on setting up more events in districts or at a local church's request.
I had never heard of Mental Health First Aid training until Annual Conference 2017. One year later, I am a huge advocate for this training.
I am the lay leader at Grinnell UMC and also work at the public library. Taking the training has helped me in both these roles. It gave me a better understanding of different illnesses, how they impact daily life, and how prevalent they are. Knowing that a huge percentage of people are dealing with some kind of mental illness has increased my sensitivity to how I interact and reach out. Having a better understanding of the symptoms of things like depression and anxiety, which are incredibly common, along with the less common but more severe illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is extremely helpful.
At church, I've been able to encourage individuals and families who I know deal with mental health issues on a daily basis. Creating an environment where they feel safe in sharing, with no judgement, is huge. The training helped me better understand how simple things in a conversation make the difference in whether someone feels supported or judged.
With my work at the library, we frequently have people come in who have significant mental health issues. The training has helped me be more aware of how they may be experiencing a situation in a very different way than me. The training has given me tools to help calm situations and avoid escalation, as well as provide a compassionate voice when talking with coworkers who are inclined to judge out of frustration and lack of understanding.
I believe Mental Health First Aid training is something that every person should make the time to do. The one-day training will open your eyes to things around you and change the way you understand and interact with people. As Christians, we are called to act with love and compassion to all. I believe this training provides essential tools to ensure we fulfill that call for those who struggle with mental illness.