One in five people is the number of adults in the United States who live with some sort of mental illness. Oswald Mestre, Jr., City of Buffalo director of citizen services says that could be your aunt, your mother, your father, your best friend so, for us to put the effort to understand this a little more, become mental health first aider.
We know what to do if someone is having a heart attack, but do you know what to do if someone is having a panic attack. Similar to taking first aid or CPR training, Compeer’s mental health first aid course teaches you how to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. Arlene A. Adams, Project Aware administrator at City of Buffalo schools says she has taken the training and her team has taken the training as well as a large majority of the staff at Burgard High School. She says it is important as educators, to be able to know and identify some of these issues.
The course gives you tools. We tend to shy away from someone that we suspect are having some challenges because we don’t know what to say or what to do. When we know what to say and do, we feel more competent in our approach.
Cheri Alvarez, MS, chief operating officer, Compeer of Greater Buffalo/International says the training is designed for people 18 and older. It is for anyone in the community whether it is related to your profession or not. With one in five people living with a mental health challenge, we are all going to be exposed to somebody, a loved one, a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker. The more educated we are the better off our community can be.
Cheri Alvarez says right now, they have funding to provide this training for free for everyone in the community. Another option is you can help coordinate one for your church, or your workplace and they can do a group training for a specific targeted group. You can take the course in person or on Zoom.