Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour training course designed to give members of the community key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Multiple organizations consider this to be an important offering to the community and collaborated in 2021 to offer 25 sessions to the public at no charge.
Wisdom Keeper Sue Davis Westmoreland and her daughter/colleague, Crystal Hannah presented 25 professional mental health first aid training sessions to the community through the United Way of Hall County’s Reach Out campaign. During this initial phase, Sue and Crystal trained 300 people, building mental health awareness and assistance available in Gainesville/Hall County at no charge to the participant. Cresswind Community Fund and Jackson EMC provided funds for lunches, training materials, and instructor training costs. Two follow-up refresher meetings were also held to reinforce the concepts and practice skills for those previously trained.
The goal looking forward is to further expand training in the community and continue to offer a quality program. A strategic planning session was held in June 2022 focused on increasing the number of trainers, continuing refresher programs, refining administration, and expanding public outreach. As a result three trainers have been certified, two of whom are fluent in Spanish and which will allow us to expand our invitations to the Hispanic community.
How can you get involved? First and foremost, attend a training session. Information for sessions is available from here. https://www.unitedwayhallcounty.org/mhfatraining. They are offered twice monthly and a refresher course offered quarterly. Encourage others to attend. As a result of training you will be able to recognize mental health risk factors and warning signs as well as teach strategies on how to assist someone in getting professional help. After the training experience there are opportunities to help in the office as registrar, in the class room as trainer or assistant or at the leadership level with fund raising, marketing or strategy. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to volunteer.
As of 2022 MHFA has been fully incorporated into the Mental and Behavioral Health Committee of One Hall, an orgainzation created by United Way of Hall County. Wisdom Project 2030 believes that the stability, success and longevity of its programs are ensured when they are rolled into other stable organizations in Hall County.