Employees Complete Mental Health First Aid Training

July 26, 2017

Everett Bradley, director of Prairie View’s Adventure and Recreational Therapy team, and Debbie Lacy-Sisco, licensed master social worker (LMSW) at Prairie View, recently completed a five-day interactive training session with a presentation and exam to become certified Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) instructors.

As instructors, Bradley and Lacy-Sisco are now available to teach the 12-hour or two-day course in the community to certify individuals in Mental Health First Aid.

“It is important that community members and staff have an understanding of mental health,” Lacy-Sisco said. “It is a disease like cancer or diabetes.”

Members of the community may not feel comfortable discussing or supporting mental health, and when someone hears an individual talking about suicide, he or she may not have the tools to support and respond, said Lacy-Sisco.

“MHFA provides the tools and several hands-on activities to utilize in uncomfortable situations.”

The training provides an awareness and overview of mental health and a strategy of how to respond to family members, co-workers, peers and friends with a mental health diagnosis.

Managed, operated and disseminated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Mental Hygiene and the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that seeks to help the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

Specifically, Bradley and Lacy-Sisco learned:

  • The plan (ALGEE) that walks through the steps of assessing, listening nonjudgmentally, giving reassurance and information, encouraging appropriate professional help and encouraging self-help and other support strategies;
  • The ability to recover and that all community members can assist those coping with mental health concerns;
  • Several examples of how to approach, assist and treat those with mental health issues with respect;
  • How to break mental health stigmas, such as using the phrase, “people with Schizophrenia” rather than “Schizophrenics”;

“I believe multiple people with mental illnesses are not receiving the help they need because they have slipped through the gaps in available care,” Bradley said. “Mental Health First Aid is hopefully a first step to tending to the needs of people with mental health issues.”

For more information about costs and how to schedule Mental Health First Aid training for organizations, congregations and civic clubs, please contact Misty Elder-Serene at 316-284-6385.

To learn more about Prairie View or to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional, phone 800-992-6292.