N&N: Mental Health First Aid Training Continues to Educate Community
Since the fall of 2013, Monarch has trained more than 375 people in Stanly County in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), an innovative program that teaches people to recognize and respond to signs of mental illness, addiction, or crisis in those around them.
MHFA training is an eight-hour course centered on a 5-step action plan that helps individuals assess the signs of mental illness or addiction and connect people to appropriate local resources for help.
“We are not all therapists,” says LaVictor Talbert, one of Monarch’s three certified MHFA trainers, “But we can all learn about what to watch for and the steps we can take to help.”
Talbert, along with fellow trainers Michael Smith, Sheri Carter, and Eileen Bress went through an extensive week-long certification process to learn the MHFA curriculum and how to engage participants around an often difficult topic — the impact of mental illness and substance use disorders on the lives of millions of Americans.
To date, with support from the United Way of Stanly County, the Stanly County Community Foundation, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, and individual donors, Monarch has trained local community members, Stanly County Schools personnel, and Stanly County Community College staff.
In addition, Monarch received one of eight national grants awarded to train public safety professionals in MHFA. As a result, a total of 130 Stanly County Sheriff’s deputies, Stanly County EMS first-responders, Albemarle Police officers, and Albemarle City Fire Department staff now better understand how to assess and respond to people with mental illness.