Your friend is threatening suicide. Someone with a mental illness is causing a scene. You suspect a teenager might be anorexic.
What should you do?
An upcoming Mental Health First Aid Training course will answer these and other questions to help people provide “first aid” help to individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis or are in the early stages of a mental health disorder.
“We have first-aid classes to teach people what to do if there is a physical problem,” said Candy Zarcone of the St. Francois County Community Partnership. “But how many people know what to do to help someone in a mental health crisis?”
The partnership is offering the 12-hour course free to ministers, youth ministers, ushers, church leaders in the faith-based community. Lay people also are welcome to attend. Scenarios will included faith-based and secular examples.
The class will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 at the Centenary Methodist Church in Bonne Terre. Lunch will be included.
Training is provided free through the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Enrollment is limited to 25 people and pre-registration is required. Call 573-760-0212 or e-mail email@example.com.
Participants will learn the signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems, such as panic attacks, trauma, grief, substance abuse crisis, depression, suicidal thoughts and eating disorders.
They also will learn where and when to get help, and what type of help has been shown to be effective. The class includes a $20 manual and has an estimated value of $200 per person.
“This class doesn’t train you to be a therapist or make a diagnosis,” Zarcone cautioned. “This is somewhat similar to a CPR class.”
Zarcone hopes to offer the class each month, with different times to meet the needs of interested parties.
Participants who attend the entire course will receive a certificate.
Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.