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Ruby Valley Mental Health First Aid Training

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

Almost half of all American adults will experience a mental illness during the course of their lifetime and twenty percent of adults experience a mental health disorder every year. It is very likely that you know someone who is suffering emotionally. Unfortunately, we often don’t know what to say or do to help a friend, family member or colleague.

Mental Health First Aid is a course that can teach you how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance abuse challenge. This free training program helps you identify, understand and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. The Ruby Valley Medical Center is sponsoring the one-day Mental Health First Aid training at the Philanthropy River Building located at 120 S. Main Street in Sheridan on September 21st from 9am to 5pm. Space is limited. Please call the Ruby Valley Medical Center at (406) 842-5453 to make a reservation. The training is recommended for teachers, law enforcement, emergency responders, clergy and community members.

Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

The Mental Health First Aid course provides an action plan for various situations including –

  • Panic attacks

  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors

  • Non-suicidal self-injury

  • Acute psychosis (e.g., hallucinations or delusions)

  • Overdose or withdrawal from alcohol or drug use

  • Reaction to a traumatic event

The program also offers self-help strategies for staying mentally well.

The learning objectives for the course are –

  1. Assessment for risk of self-harm

  2. Listening non-judgementally

  3. Giving reassurance and information

  4. Encouraging appropriate professional help

  5. Encouraging self-help and other support strategies

The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis. Practicing intervention skills through role playing makes it easier to apply these skills in real-life situations. The program also teaches the common risk factors and warning signs of specific types of illnesses such as anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia.

Mental Health First Aid is not a replacement for professional therapy. It can bridge the gap between people who may need help and potentially life-saving supports. Only 41% of people with a mental health disorder receive treatment either because it isn’t available or they can’t bring themselves to ask for help.

The Mental Health First Aid course will be taught by Karl Rosston, LCSW, Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. He provides evidenced-based programs to all Montana secondary schools, implements the State Suicide Prevention Plan, supports the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline, implements firearm safety programs and statewide media campaigns, provides suicide prevention trainings, and coordinates suicide prevention efforts around the state. Karl is adjunct faculty at the Montana Law Enforcement Academy and a nationally certified trainer in QPR and Mental Health First Aid.

Please bring a face mask for situations during the course when social distancing is not feasible. Loaner cloth masks will be available. Participants can bring a bag lunch or order Bread Zepplin’s sack lunch special (cost: $12) when making their reservations.

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