The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Brazos Valley is initiating the Mental Health First Aid program in our community to combat the likelihood of a mental health crisis. NAMI-BV has certified MHFA Adult, Youth and Public Safety Version instructors and is poised to train jailers, police officers, and other service oriented professionals, as well as, teachers and members of the public to improve mental health literacy – helping identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness.
NAMI-BV is approved to offer 8 hours TCOLE credit for the class and 8 hours CEUs for teachers and other school staff.
“We are thrilled to bring MHFA to our community,” said Jody Schulz, Executive Director of NAMI-BV. “This important educational effort goes a step further than emergency intervention; it really helps people understand the individuals and families who experience mental illnesses and addiction. It can help rid our community of the associated misconceptions which can move more and more people toward recovery – before a crisis.”
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour evidence based training certification course which teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions, and secure appropriate care for the individual. The certification program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Thorough evaluations in randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proved the CPR-like program effective in improving trainees’ knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma, and increasing the amount of help provided to others.
“We welcome NAMI of Brazos Valley’s involvement and enthusiasm in the MHFA community,” says Linda Rosenberg, MSW, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, the organization who brought MHFA to the United States in 2008. “We know they will have a great impact on the mental health communities throughout the Texas Brazos Valley, and will be key players in improving mental health literacy nationwide.”
In its pilot year, the program was introduced in nearly 20 states and more than 40 communities nationwide. The National Council certified NAMI-BV to provide the MHFA program in 2014 through an instructor certification course in Bryan and NAMI-BV provided the Youth Version to 580 teachers in 2014. Courses have been held in Bellville, Brenham, Bryan, Calvert, Centerville, Hearne, Jewett, Madisonville, Navasota and Oakwood districts and are scheduled to be held in Snook and Somerville as well in 2015. Courses taught by NAMI-BV, as well as all the sites across the nation that replicate this program, must maintain strict fidelity to the original, proven program.
MHFA originated in 2001 in Australia under the direction of founders Betty Kitchener and Tony Jorm. To date, it has been replicated in 20 other countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Scotland, England, Canada, Finland, and Singapore.
NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health nonprofit dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI-BV covers a seven county region, including Brazos, Washington, Madison, Leon, Robertson, Burleson and Grimes where they teach the Youth version for teachers and school staff at no cost. NAMI-BV teaches the Adult and Public Safety versions statewide.
The National Council for Behavioral Health is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 2,000+ behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly seven million adults, children and families in communities across the country.
NAMI, The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders so they can and do recover and lead productive lives.