David Lawrence Centers provide Mental Health First Aid


NAPLES, Fla. – One in five people struggle with a mental health issue. With recent mass shootings and an increase in suicides, it’s more important than ever to recognize the signs of a mental health issue. The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health makes this possible with its Mental Health First Aid courses.

“Just as CPR and basic first aid is common knowledge so they know how to intervene medically, it’s the same principle,” said Jessica Liria, Community Outreach Specialist for David Lawrence Centers.

She said the goal is for everyone to be able to step in when someone is in a mental health situation.

Mental Health First Aid is a globally recognized evidence-based training program,” she said.

Anyone in the community can take it. The David Lawrence Centers have five qualified instructors. You sign up for the online course, and it will teach you how to spot when someone is having a mental health issue and develop a plan of action so you feel comfortable and confident to intervene.

“To figure out how to go about it and figure out what to say or what to do, or what kind of presence to have in front of someone as they go through some of their struggles, and really just have compassion,” Liria said. .

A module helps to deal with other adults with a mental health problem. Liria said the course would be good for caregivers, neighbors, friends, relatives, employees or colleagues.

The other module helps manage children and adolescents with a mental health problem.

“We really recommend this to parents, coaches, young people, pastors, teachers, everyone in the education system,” Liria said.

Madison McNally, director of programs for the STARability Foundation in Collier County, took the Mental Health First Aid for Youth course.

“As soon as I heard about the training, I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me and our staff,” McNally said.

The STARability Foundation is a non-profit organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“A lot of the participants we serve in our community actually have secondary conditions like depression, anxiety, etc.,” McNally said.

They work with teenagers and adults, so McNally is also enrolled in the next adult module.

The training is divided into two distinct sections: crisis situations and non-crisis situations.

“At what point do these signs and symptoms change from early or worsening signs to crisis signs? And how do I tell these two apart? What resources might be different depending on what a person is going through?” Liria said.

She said classes are especially important right now, due to current trends at David Lawrence centers.

“We are seeing a record number of crisis stays and people entering our crisis unit for attempted suicide or suicidal thoughts,” she said.

McNally said the mental health first aid training helped them create a plan if someone was in a mental health crisis.

“Maybe it’s something within a member of staff, maybe it’s someone you serve, maybe it’s someone who is on the street. What would If someone going through a mental health crisis comes into your facility, how would you handle that? she says.

“We all have the power to make such a big difference,” Liria said.

The David Lawrence Centers have a Mental Health First Aid training for the adult module on June 24th. To register click here.

He has Mental Health First Aid training for their youth module on July 29. To register click here.

The training is virtual and costs $23.95. The first two hours are at your own pace, then the rest is done in a group with an instructor. It is done quarterly.

You can also schedule group training for your business or organization. For more information, email [email protected]


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