As part of activities for Mental Health Awareness Month, the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. hosted a six-hour virtual Mental Health First Aid certification training on May 13, 2021, for two staff of the CHCC Community Guidance Center’s Behavioral Health Response Program and eight employees of AB Risk Solutions in Guam and on Saipan.
Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based public education program that removes the unease and apprehension of starting conversations about mental health and substance use challenges by improving, understanding, and providing an action plan that teaches individuals to safely and responsibly identify and address warning signs and symptoms of a potential mental health or substance use disorder.
CGC’s Kimberly Seman Tudela and Jessica Camacho-Barcinas led the training with the technical assistance of Lupe Camacho and Lei Iguel. The CHCC training was funded through support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Healthy Transitions grant and the System of Care grant.
The training covered early signs and symptoms, worsening signs and symptoms, crisis signs and symptoms, the mental health first aid action plan, and self-care for the mental health first aider. Part of the training included topics on suicide, non-suicidal self-injury, and psychosis. The participants worked on identifying signs and symptoms of appropriate mental health care and applying the action plan during non-crisis and crisis situations.
To date, CGC has certified 1,079 individuals in the CNMI, including community members from Guam, in either the MHFA youth curriculum, adult curriculum, or both.
For more information on MHFA, visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org. For contact information and to request for the CHCC CGC’s MHFA training, visit chcc.gov.mp/communitysupporttraining.php. (PR)