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Great Falls library hosts Mental Health First Aid training

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Posted at 6:58 PM, May 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-10 12:30:47-04

GREAT FALLS — May is Mental Health Awareness month. In Great Falls, training is taking place to reduce the stigma about mental health and improve community awareness.

From recognizing the common signs and symptoms of mental health and substance abuse challenges to how to interact with a person in crisis, a training offered by theGreat Falls Public Library andMany Rivers Whole Health is giving participants a valuable lesson in mental health first aid.

As a licensed program supervisor overseeing adult outpatient mental health services in Great Falls, Suzanne Call is leading a group through Mental Health First Aid, an international, evidence-based training program.

“So we talk about the signs and symptoms of different mental health diagnoses,” said Call, who works for Many Rivers Whole Health. “We talk about using person first language, when and how to communicate with people who may be experiencing a mental health challenge. We talk about how to help people who may be experiencing a mental health crisis and how people who've been trained in mental health first aid or can provide help in crisis situations.”

This isn’t the first time Call has led the training. She says there was also one offered in the fall. She also led a training in Conrad a couple years ago.

Participants on Thursday ranged from library employees to representatives from other agencies to interested community members.

Call says the program, which started in Australia and is offered in 25 countries, isn’t just aimed at adults.

“There's Youth Mental Health First Aid, which is for adults helping youth,” said Call. “There's also a new program that started in the last couple three years, which is the Teen Mental Health First Aid, which is for teens to be able to help their peers.

Call says the need for mental health treatment and awareness is not going away, making programs like Mental Health First Aid as important as ever.

“We've actually seen the need for it increasing because life is stressful,” said Call. “We all have to work and pay the bills and there's things that happen and things get stressful and sometimes we just need a little bit of extra help.

Another training session will be held Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 10 in the Cordingley Room at the Great Falls Public Library. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. As of Thursday afternoon, several spots remained open. For a link to register, click here.