The Community Guidance Center’s System of Care program did another round of Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid training last July 23 and 25 to several groups, with a total of 40 individuals being certified for MHFA.
That means the participants are now certified to provide initial help to people who may be experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, non-suicidal self-injuries, substance use, or those who are reacting to a traumatic event.
The training series was conducted by SOC staff Guadalupe Camacho and Kimberly Mendiola, and Garrett Lee Smith Youth Suicide Prevention Program staff Fred Fatialofa and Mia Jones.
The MHFA training is an eight-hour course that provides participants with tools to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary. Similar to how cardio-pulmonary training helps individuals gain skills to provide basic medical health assistance during an emergency, MHFA prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
The first aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.
The System of Care program offers trainings for two curricula: Youth MHFA and Adult MHFA. Youth MHFA is designed to help adolescents aged 12-18 years old, while the Adult MHFA is designed to help those above the age of 18.
In just 10 years, mental health first aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States—more than 1 million people are certified mental health first aiders, and that number is growing every day.
Those that attended the training were staff of Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc.; Living Hope Church; CHCC Maternal and Child Health Bureau; CHCC Psychiatric Unit; Commonwealth Cancer Association; Substance Abuse, Addictions, and Rehabilitation Program; CNMI Drug Court; Northern Marianas Sports Association; Saipan World Resort; Public School System; Northern Marianas College; Marianas Variety; and other community members.
For agencies or individuals interested in receiving MHFA certifications or for more information on MHFA, contact the System of Care office in San Antonio at (670)664-4604.
The Community Guidance Center System of Care Program is funded in part by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
For more information about Commonwealth Health Care Corp. programs, follow it on Facebook and Twitter at @cnmichcc, check out its website at www.chcc.gov.mp or call (670) 234-8950. (PR)