The Center encourages participation in the Mental Health First Aid course

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A discussion of a first aid course sparked the idea of ​​additional specialist training for Family Crisis Center (FCC) staff.

As a result, they recently attended a one-day mental health first aid course at the Center for Counseling & Consultation, 5815 Broadway.

“If we learn physical first aid, why not mental health too,” said Jamie Fager, FCC program director at the Domestic & Sexual Violence Center. “Mental health is an important part of everyone’s life, including in the workplace. COVID has just amplified this.

“The quarantine has been difficult for a lot of people,” she explained. “Working from home might have been okay at first, but the lack of social interaction has led to mental health issues for some. The Center class could help any business or agency better serve their clients, clients and employees.

The course is designed for nonprofits, private businesses, first responders, teachers, civic and religious organizations, as well as individuals.

“We use the knowledge we have gained to better support our clients and each other in our shelter, office and child advocacy center,” Fager said. “We are always looking for new information and training opportunities to find out more today than yesterday.”

Fager noted that with physical first aid, the problem is usually obvious.

“But in the case of mental health, we have to focus on what we can’t see,” she commented. “When we are endowed with more information, we can better serve those who rely on us.

“We assess, listen without judgment, reassure and provide resources,” added Fager. “Those with mental health issues often suffer in silence because they think they don’t have support. But we are there for them.

The middle class

Kristian Pearson, safety and integration coordinator, said he and his colleagues are redoubling their efforts to encourage businesses, organizations and individuals to take advantage of the mental health first aid course.

“There is a national push to tackle mental health issues and eliminate the stigma associated with them,” said Pearson. “We want to be a part of this. Mental health issues can be a silent killer if left untreated. We want to give people a voice when they think they don’t have one.

Companies are urged to consider the effects of employee mental health issues on the bottom line. More than $ 700 billion is lost each year due to missed workdays, resulting in decreased productivity and other problems, Pearson noted.

The information gleaned from the eight-hour course can help employees feel better about their jobs, which often results in improved recruitment and retention, he said.

“The class can also suggest ways to talk to frustrated customers, which is a factor in returning business,” noted Pearson.

Locally, some companies have expressed interest in the class but have yet to follow through.

“I encourage them and others to call us,” Pearson said. “Mental health first aid is just as important as physical first aid. We usually know when to call 911 for a physical problem, but we don’t know how to react to a panic attack or the fear that someone is showing signs of alcoholism.

“Our class can eliminate the fear of starting conversations. When we are equipped with the right tools, we can start a dialogue. It can even save lives.

Pearson also noted that “if employees realize their boss is taking this seriously, so will they.”

Those who complete the course receive a two-year certificate. The course can be presented at the Center or at another location.

For more information on class and price options, contact the Center by calling 620-792-2544.

The Counseling and Counseling Center is a community mental health center serving Barton, Pawnee, Rice and Stafford counties. Offer of professionally trained staff: individual and group therapy; marriage and family counseling; community support services; community services; psychosocial rehabilitation; peer support; and medication management. The confidential 24/7 crisis hotline is 800-875-2544.


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