CKMHC Adds Additional Certified Mental Health First Aid Trainers

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Gretchen Boyum, Taylor Haws and Julie Clayson. Photo courtesy of CKMHC”/>
Gretchen Boyum, Taylor Haws and Julie Clayson. Photo courtesy CKMHC

Central Kansas Mental Health Center

Three other Central Kansas Mental Health Center staff have been certified to become Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainers.

Gretchen Boyum, Julie Clayson and Taylor Haws recently participated in a training course with other staff from the All Kansas Community Mental Health Center. Upon completion of the course and assessment, they received the necessary certification to provide adult PSSM training to community members.

MHFA teaches people how to safely and responsibly respond to and support those experiencing a mental health issue, substance use disorder, or crisis, using a proven action plan and evidence-based tools . PSSM eliminates fear and hesitation to start conversations about mental health and helps reduce stigma. When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they need.

In 2021, CKMHC delivered 10 PSSM trainings in our five-county service area, training 173 community members. CKMHC offers both youth and adult PSSM, both trainings are aimed at adult participants but focus on providing specific support to different age groups. CKMHC has provided PSSM training to several companies and organizations in its service area, helping to create informed and supportive environments for employees and customers.

Taylor Haws is certified to teach PSSM to youth and adults. “I feel fortunate to be contributing in our region to PSSM awareness and training to help community members recognize when others are in need,” she said. “My hope is to increase community members’ confidence in supporting each other to find appropriate mental health support when needed.”

Mental Health First Aid was established in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a health education nurse, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy teacher. Since then, more than 2.5 million people in the United States have been trained at the MHFA, including celebrities like Lady Gaga and former First Lady Michelle Obama. Recently, the Kansas Governor’s Commission on Racial Equity and Justice cited the MHFA as an important tool for creating health equity.

To inquire about a PSSM course for your group or business, contact Gretchen Boyum at [email protected] or call 785-515-6139.

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