The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College is proud to announce Director of Accessibility and Mental Health Services Kelly Bonice has recently completed certification to provide Mental Health First Aid Training to students as well as residents of Southeast Ohio. Bonice said this eight-hour training course gives people the tools to identify when someone might be in distress and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.
“The need for mental health awareness continues to rise. This training provides people with the skills necessary to provide help for the individual,” Bonice said. “We want to teach our students, faculty, staff and community how to respond because we strive to promote a culture of caring on our campus.”
Bonice received her certification through the National Council for Behavioral Health, which helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008. According to the organization, one in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.
Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis. President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health Linda Rosenberg said Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.
“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems,” said Rosenberg. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they may need.”
In just ten years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States. More than one million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day. Bonice said she is excited to begin the training sessions and teach the community how to start the conversation and find help for their loved ones.
“It is my passion, both personally and professionally, to never stop spreading the message of hope,” said Bonice. “By completing this training, you can become part of a national movement to eliminate stigma and help those in distress.”
To learn more about Mental Health First Aid USA, visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org, or for more information about Mental Health First Aid training sessions, contact Kelly Bonice at 740-245-7439.