On Saturday, Aug. 3, University of Missouri Extension will offer Mental Health First Aid training in Nevada. This groundbreaking eight-hour training course will give 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 5-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,” says 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 ten 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.

“While no one wants to think about it happening in their community, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10-34 in Missouri,” says Kyleigh Sullivan Human Development Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension. “Missouri’s general rate of suicide is higher than the national average. With programs like Youth Mental Health First Aid we are working to lower those rates in our state starting at the local level.”

The course will be held at the Nevada Public Library 212 W Walnut St, Nevada, MO 64772 on Aug. 3 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The cost is $50 for a manual and lunch. For more information or to participate in a Mental Health First Aid training in Nevada visit https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course/find-a-course/ or contact University of Missouri Extension Vernon County Center at 417-448-2560 to register.

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