Mental Health Center of Madison County Offers Training on How to Deal with Health Concerns Among Peers

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - Have you ever not known quite what to say or exactly how to respond to a friend or co-worker who is dealing with personal strife, depression or substance abuse? Well The Mental Health Center of Madison County is now offering a course open to the non-metal health professional to make sure you're never at a loss for words again.

The Mental Health Center of Madison County is now offering a course called 'Mental Health First Aid'. The 8-hour course presents an overview of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact on individuals, families and communities, and overviews common treatments and resources.

"Here's what to look for in your friends, in your family in your neighbors, in your co-workers who may be having mental health or substance abuse challenges -  and then here's what to do as a lay person if you find that they are struggling with something."

Mental Health Center of Madison County CEO Brian Davis explains recovery is possible with early intervention but only 41% of those with a mental illness will seek help in any given year and 50% will delay getting help for an average of 10 years -  largely due to stigma associated with mental health problems.

"That is our neighbors, or friends, our family members; that is a far greater number than we have the resources, obviously, to treat," explains Davis.

MHFA has been proven to improve understanding and to decrease stigma related to mental illness and substance use, Davis says.  The goal is for MHFA training to become as readily recognized in a few years as CPR and First Aid trainings are today.

"If we can get the word out to where we're all kind of all watching out for each other in our schools, in our churches, in our communities and workplaces then ultimately you have a healthier community and you're more likely to catch people sooner rather than later."

The registration fee for the course is $25. To learn more about MHFA and future trainings offered through the Mental Health Center contact Rita Limbaugh, Community Education Director of the Mental Health Center at 256-705-6379. You may also click on the Mental Health First Aid website for additional information.

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