From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29, the Idyllwild Library Branch of the Riverside County Library System will be offering Mental Health First Aid training in Idyllwild.
This groundbreaking eight-hour training course in two sessions gives people the 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.
One in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.
Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
Mental Health First Aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.
“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help
they may need.”
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.
Riverside County Library System, through a grant from the California State Library, is offering free training classes to library staff and the public for a limited time. Local community groups are encouraged to attend.
For more information or to participate in the Mental Health First Aid training in Idyllwild, contact the Idyllwild Library at 951-659-2300 or email Shannon Houlihan Ng at shannon.ng@rivlib.net.
To learn more about Mental Health First Aid USA, visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org.

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