Mental Health First Aid Helps Community, Individuals

By Machelor, Patty | AZ Daily Star, May 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Mental Health First Aid Helps Community, Individuals


Machelor, Patty, AZ Daily Star


Think of it as a first aid class, but the help rendered isn't treating a wound or stopping someone from choking.

Instead, participants in eight-hour classes learn to recognize signs of mental illness, psychological distress and addiction, and how to assist people in crises. The classes, which are being offered here for free, draw from a National Council for Behavioral Health program called Mental Health First Aid.

"We've trained about 14,000 people in Arizona and about 4,000 in Pima County," said Neal Cash, chief executive officer of Community Partners Inc. Cash said offering the classes follows there being "more light shed on mental illness and the fact that treatment works and people do recover and get better."

"The classes not only benefit those taking the training, but also will help those they come in contact with around the community," he said.

Through a partnership with Pima County Behavioral Health, Community Partners will offer more than 30 free training sessions to Southern Arizona residents beginning with the first class this week, said Tom Baca, marketing and communications administrator for Community Partners.

"We remain committed to offering this critical training at no charge," Cash said. "Mental Health First Aid is an important part of our public safety net, just like CPR, and helps people get care when they need it."

Community Partners, formerly Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, has provided mental-health first aid training since the Jan. …

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