Mental Health First Aid in Virginia - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Mental Health First Aid in Virginia

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Untreated mental illness is a problem that many of us think doesn't affect us.  WSLS 10 has found that it has the potential to impact each and every one of  us on any given day.  Virginia is about to roll out a new initiative across the state called Mental Health First Aid.

The program is through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health.  VDBH will train people to be trainers in our local communities.  

Here are the facts:

Each Community Service Board will have three trainers.  Each trainer is required to conduct three training sessions in his community annually with an average of 25 participants.  Trainers can offer unlimited training sessions in their communities.

 * There are 40 CSBs across Virginia.  Each CSB is provided with three scholarships for staff to be trained as trainers, as part of the Mental Health First Aid initiative. When there are open seats, CSBs are informed in case they want to send more people.

* Addressing mental illness requires a comprehensive approach to address a complex issue. Mental Health First Aid  is a prevention strategy that builds a community’s capacity to address the issues through heightened awareness and skill building.  Other strategies are being addressed as it relates to access, intervention, policy change and systems enhancements through the Governor’s Mental Health Council.

* Mental Health First Aid is being offered in both the Adult and Youth versions.  There are five MHFA Adult training sessions and three Youth training'ssessions.

Diane Kelly, Director of Mental Health America in Roanoke has been teaching Mental Health First Aid since 2011.

She explains, "This is designed as an early intervention a way to recognize warning signs to help people in the early stages of illness before they get to the point where they want to harm themselves or become psychotic."

Find more information about Mental Health First Aid Classes.

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Roanoke, VA 24022-0010

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Fax: 540.343.3157

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