The basics of mental health help to share


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From the smallest ailment to something more serious, you probably know the basic first aid to give someone in need. But would the same answer be true if you came across a family member, friend, colleague, student, or community member with mental health issues. Should I say something or not? Should you approach the person or leave them alone?

Unfortunately, most Americans don’t know the basics of helping someone in a mental health crisis. They may not even realize that someone is actually in crisis. Yet the need for such knowledge has only grown in light of the COVID pandemic and other changes in American society. The Centers for Disease Control found in a recent study that “mental, behavioral, and developmental disorders begin in early childhood. One in 6 American children between the ages of 2 and 8 had a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. The prevalence of mental disorders changes with age, and diagnoses of ADHD, anxiety, and depression become more common with age.

As these mental health crises have grown for America’s youth, so has the need to know the basics of mental health first aid.

Montgomery County Mental Health Volunteers will provide a one-day, in-person mental health first aid training focused on helping youth. The program will take place May 5 at the Success Center at Hoosier Heartland State Bank, 1623 US 231, Crawfordsville.

Any parent, teacher, provider, first responder or interested person is invited. Pre-registration is mandatory at least two weeks before the event. The $20 registration fee includes training, all materials, snacks and lunch. Each participant who completes the course work will receive a certification.

The Mental Health First Aid moment is international and is present in several countries of the world. The National Council for Mental Wellbeing explains that the MHFA “is an evidence-based training program that teaches how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and addiction problems.”

Indiana is fortunate that Purdue University Extension has adopted this program and is preparing trainers statewide. According to Tessa Garrow, Behavioral Health Specialist – Purdue Extension, College of Health and Human Sciences, workshop fees “are due to support from a grant that Purdue Extension received from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. (SAMHSA), a federal agency that is part of the federal government’s Department of Health and Human Services. Garrow continued, “Without the support of SAMHSA grant funds, the cost for each participant to enroll in the May 5 class would be much higher (approximately $75).”

Locally, VMHMC, through community donations, even offers scholarships to those who ask for help in advance.

Two experienced certified trainers will lead the workshop – Alicia Criswell from Warrick County Purdue Extension and Carla Kidwell from Wayne County Purdue Extension.

Registration is now open online. A maximum of 30 participants is allowed. To access the registration portal, visit You can also use a shortcut found on the VMHMC website ( to complete the registration process.

Questions regarding the program, registration, or scholarships may be directed to Denise Booher Walker, Chair of the VMHMC Board of Directors, at 765-275-2689 or by email at [email protected]. Program co-chair Chasity Surface of HHSB can be reached at 765-401-1922.

VMHMC is grateful for the support of the MHFA program from the business and professional women of Crawfordsville, the Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association and the Hoosier Heartland State Bank.

VMHMC is a United Way partner agency in Montgomery County, supported by the generous people of Montgomery County.


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