Box: To register for training, visit https://www.positivelivingsupport.org/training/register or call (586) 263-8748.Mental Health First Aid experts will be training throughout the state, including in Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties.
The sessions are to help increase literacy and reduce stigma regarding mental health problems and mental illness, said Ed Kiefer, a senior training consultant with the Center for Positive Living Supports in Clinton Township.The center arranged for the training of members of the public after Gov. Rick Snyder declared May 18 to May 24 as “Michigan Mental Health First Aid Week.”
The free training for up to 40 will be from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 20, at the Auburn Hills campus of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center at 1270 Doris Ave.Mental health first aid is defined as the help offered to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment and support are received or until the crisis is resolved.
“… when someone we know is experiencing a major mental health problem we may be unsure of what to do,” Kiefer said. “We may choose to do nothing, disassociate, or communicate fear to others all of which further stigmatize the individual, their family, and our community”, said Kiefer, who also does Culture of Gentleness training, a philosophy based on building trust between a caregiver and person with a disability or mental illness so physical or chemical restraints aren’t needed.Nearly one-in-five Americans develop a mental disorder in any one year, according to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Kiefer added, “Mental health problems are common and unfortunately understanding how to provide initial help is not.”
Those with mental illness “could be someone very close to you,” said Kiefer. “As a Mental Health First-Aider we are conduits to care” in that those trained in the field can guide someone to the proper physicians or treatment programs.The Michigan Mental Health First Aid Week will be supported with radio spots and a phone bank for people to call, according to Snyder’s office. The statewide goal is to train 1,500 people during the course of this week.
Jerry Wolffe is the writer-in-residence and advocate-at-large at the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center. He can be reached at 586 263-8950.