Mental health seminar offers training to the public
second group of Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce businesses will take the Mental Health First Aid course offered by the Washington County Behavioral Health Board.
Chamber president Carrie Ankrom said Thursday a previous offering in the fall – the course is a full-day session – drew 30 participants and she thinks another course to be held next week will fill up as well.
“We’re seeing this as a growing trend. It’s not a topic that’s really openly discussed, but it includes so many avenues involving safety in the workplace,” Ankrom said Thursday.
Mental health, she said, was identified by the chamber’s safety committee as a concern for employees of member businesses.
“I’m looking at the course book, and it includes things like substance abuse, psychosis, anxiety, depression … when you think of mental health, you might not think of anxiety or eating disorders,” she said. “There’s a whole realm of things here, and from an employee safety aspect, how to handle it.”
Miriam Keith, a recovery and prevention advocate for the Washington County Behavioral Health Board and instructor for Mental Health First Aid, said the eight-hour course can be compared to CPR training for non-medical people.
“It instructs you on ways to help someone in a mental health crisis, even if you don’t have professional training,” she said. “We talk about the major mental health disorders, what disability means, ways to reduce stigma about mental health disorders and how to share those rules with other people.”
The approach taught in the course follows a five-step action plan founded by a group in Australia nearly 20 years ago, she said.
“The acronym is ALGEE: Assist, Listen non-judgmentally, Give reassurance and information, Encourage seeking professional assistance if that’s appropriate and Encourage self-help strategies,” she said.
The process taught in Mental Health First Aid is nearly always applicable in casual situations, she said, in which the certified person has become concerned about a colleague or acquaintance exhibiting signs of stress, anxiety or some other indication of mental health need.View Full Article