I have always been interested in suicide and mental health, but as a college student, wanted to learn more about what I can do to help others. As Miss Capital City, this year, my platform and serivce area is Saving Lives: Preventing Suicide in our Youth and Young Adults. To educate myself, I enrolled in a Mental Health First Aid training course to obtain a certification and learn how to help someone undergoing a mental health crisis. The course is a national program available in communities across the country, and teaches the same material everywhere. I want to explain what the process was like, who should take the course, and how you can become Mental Health First Aid certified.
How It Works
The course is a one day, eight hour event that covers topics such as depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, and substance use disorders. While eight hours might seem like a large commitment, you really do need that much time to learn about these topics, go through the exercises, and walk away prepared. There are snacks, group activities, and simulations that make it fun! A facilitator will walk you through different presentations, referring to sections of the Mental Health First Aid manual you receive as part of the course. There is always time to stop for questions and dive deeper into certain topics. I really liked how the facilitator gave so much flexibility to the class to guide certain conversations and expectations for how the day would go.
At the end of the course there is a short (and fairly easy) exam. If you pass, you will receive your Mental Health First Aid Certification that is good for three years. After that, you will need to take another course to refresh your skills!
Who Should be Certified
Anyone and everyone should be certified! You never know when you will find yourself in a situation where someone around you is going through a mental health crisis. I especially recommend it for educators and professionals who work with kids, teens, and families. There is also a course specifically for kids! People of all backgrounds and ages can benefit from becoming mental health first aid certified.
How to Sign Up
The Speedy Foundation offers MHFA courses and the next ones are at Boise State University on Oct. 23. Sign up here: www.WSCOS.org or search for a course near you: https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course/
Students receive 40% off the registration fee by entering the code: StudentWSCOS2018
Taking this course was such an educational and rewarding experience! Now I feel prepared to help in a variety of situations, and have a new perspective on mental health.