SANFORD, N.C. - Central Carolina Community College brought Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to its Sanford campus on June 27-28. Faculty and staff members Leigh Beam, Amy Bradbury, Kels Brucker, Joelle Chase, Peggy Cotten, Brandi Hernandez, Miranda Manfredi, Leslie Matthews, Regina Minter, Tanasha Murchison, and Falecia Simmons participated in the training.
"In 2021 4,041 people lost their lives to overdose in North Carolina. Over 450,000 people in North Carolina have a serious mental disorder. Post-COVID, the rates of depression, anxiety, and other disorders have risen. The odds are pretty good that one will come across someone with a mental disorder at some point in our daily lives. The vast majority of those interactions will be benign, but occasionally one may meet someone that is either in the midst of a substance use or a mental health crisis," said Kelly L. Dorman, CCCC Criminal Justice Studies Department Chair, who conducted the class.
"As Mental Health First Aiders, we are trained to help in situations where there is a mental health or substance use concern or crisis," said Dorman. "We do not treat or diagnose, but we can help calm the situation and act as support for the individual experiencing the crisis until either professional help arrives or we can connect them with the proper resources."
Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. This groundbreaking skills-based course gives people the tools to identify, understand and respond to someone who might be struggling with a mental health or substance use challenge -- and connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.
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.
"Never has it been more important for our communities to talk about mental health and substance use," says Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, which helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008. "This program is breaking down barriers and stigma so that together we can learn how to better support one another. Without mental health, there is no health."
In just 12 years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States -- more than 2.5 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day.
"CCCC is proud to be participating in this movement to better serve our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the communities we serve," said Dorman.
These 11 Central Carolina Community College faculty and staff members recently participated in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. MHFA prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis.