Well Being

Basics for mental health aid to be shared

Volunteers for Mental Health opens registration for May 5 workshop

Photo Illustration

From the smallest boo-boo to something more serious, you probably would know the basic first aid to offer someone in need. But would the same answer be true if you encountered a family member, friend, colleague, student or community member who was demonstrating mental health concerns. Should you say something, or not? Should the person be approached, or left alone?

Most Americans, sadly, do not know the basics of assisting someone in a mental health crisis. They may not even realize someone is actually in crisis. Yet, the need for such knowledge has only grown in light of the COVID pandemic and other changes in the U.S. society. The Centers for Disease Control found in a recent study that “mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood. One in 6 U.S. children aged 2-8 years had a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. Prevalence of mental disorders change with age, and diagnoses of ADHD, anxiety and depression become more common with increased age.”

As these mental health crises have grown for America’s youth, so has the need to know the basics of first aid for mental health.

The Volunteers for Mental Health in Montgomery County will offer a one-day in-person training for Mental Health First Aid focused on assisting youth. The program will take place May 5 at Hoosier Heartland State Bank’s Success Center, 1623 U.S. 231, Crawfordsville.

Any parent, teacher, provider, first responder or interested individual is invited. Pre-registration is required at least two weeks prior to the event. The registration fee of $20 includes the training, all materials, snacks and lunch. Each participant who completes the course work will receive certification.

The Mental Health First Aid moment is international and is present in several countries worldwide. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing explains that MHFA “is an evidence-based training program that teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges.”

Indiana is fortunate that Purdue University Extension has adopted this program and prepares trainers throughout the state. According to Tessa Garrow, Behavioral Health Specialist - Purdue Extension, College of Health and Human Sciences, the workshop fee “is thanks to the support of a grant Purdue Extension received from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a federal agency that is part of the federal government’s department of Health & Human Services.” Garrow continued, “Without the support of the SAMHSA grant funds, the cost for each participant to register for the May 5 course would be much higher (around $75).”

Locally, VMHMC, through community donations, even has some scholarships available to those who request assistance in advance.

Two experienced certified trainers will lead the workshop — Alicia Criswell of Warrick County Purdue Extension and Carla Kidwell of Wayne County Purdue Extension.

Registration is now open online. A maximum of 30 participants is permitted. To access the registration portal, visit https://cvent.me/zkAaNw. You may also use a short-cut found on the VMHMC website (vmhmc.org) to complete the registration process.

Questions concerning the program, registration, or scholarships may be directed to VMHMC Board President Denise Booher Walker at 765-275-2689 or by email at dbw@vmhmc.org. Co-chair for the program, Chasity Surface of HHSB, can be reached at 765-401-1922.

VMHMC is grateful for support of the MHFA program from the Crawfordsville Business and Professional Women, the Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association and Hoosier Heartland State Bank.

VMHMC is a partner agency of United Way in Montgomery County supported by the generous people of Montgomery County.