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Mental health training offered

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A Mental Health First Aid training event for front-line workers is being brought to Yellow Springs next month in order to help villagers effectively interact with those who have mental health issues.

The eight-hour training will take place Friday, Oct. 3, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fee is $25 and deadline for registration is Sept. 17; the event is limited to the first 20 registrants. This event is aimed at those who in their line of work might interact with the mentally ill; these people include firefighters, landlords, restaurant/bar workers, faith-based providers and customer service workers, among others. A second training is planned in the future for family, friends and neighbors.

The event is sponsored by the Human Relations Commission, or HRC, and NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness) Yellow Springs.

The program aims at helping to make Yellow Springs a more inclusive, welcoming community for all people, according to HRC member Linda Rudawski.

“The chance of interacting with someone with mental illness is high, yet only professionals (police, social workers, therapists, etc.) receive training needed,” Rudawski wrote in an email. “Formal trial results show that after two years the Mental Health First Aid training still has a notable impact on the awareness of mental health and its treatment. It also leads to behavior change in terms of a readiness to engage more in contacts with people with mental health problems. I say, let’s be a model community by choosing to be equipped with this training.”

The training certification course teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care, according to a press release, along with introducing participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems.

According to NAMI Yellow Springs member Kathy Adams, the program “is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) federal program that teaches mental health literacy, a basic understanding of what addictions and different mental illnesses are and the challenges they present in daily life. It teaches about substance abuse disorders, trauma, anxiety disorders, depression, mood disorders and psychosis. It also teaches interventions/action plans in a variety of situations. Examples are panic attacks, overdose or withdrawal from alcohol and/or drug abuse, traumatic event reactions, suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury and psychosis. The goal is to grow knowledge and confidence in our community to increase likelihood of helping individuals in distress.”

Mental illness is not rare, and it’s likely that many in the village encounter those struggling with it, according to NAMI member Kathryn Hitchcock, who also works for the Yellow Springs News, stating that “arguably, one out of four or one out of five of us has a mental illness or a substance abuse/addiction problem or both.”

“Some of our police officers have not yet been trained in CIT (Crisis Intervention Training) or it has been over two years since they went through the program,” Hitchcock wrote in an email. “This would give them some skills to employ in such situations. We have a long list of people like landlords, utility workers, bar and restaurant personnel, library, Senior Center, Tom’s cashiers, BP and Safeway. These are people who can benefit by learning skills to deal with a person in distress due to a mental illness or an addiction.”

Presenting the training will be Julie Wilcox, certified MHFA instructor from Consolidated Care of Logan and Champaign counties. For more information on the program, go to To register, email, using “MHFA” as the subject line, and include name, phone number, employer and job title.


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