Mental health first aid training to be provided at the Cullman County Library in July

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CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Public Library will be hosting a Mental Health First Aid training course Tuesday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 20 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. There is no cost for the training or materials as it is a grant-based program from the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

The course trains participants to help people who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. It includes content on cultural considerations and overcoming stigma, and equips people with the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to reach out and provide initial help to someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge.

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. Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step Action Plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support. Studies show people trained in Mental Health First Aid are more knowledgeable and confident when it comes to identifying and helping an individual in distress.

Mental Health First Aid was brought to the U.S. by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing in 2008. “Never has it been more important for our communities to talk about mental health and substance use,” says Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “This program is breaking down barriers and stigma so that together we can learn how to better support one another. Without mental health, there is no health.” In just 12 years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States — more than 2.5 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day.

The training will be presented by Wellstone, formerly Cullman Area Mental Health Authority/Mental Healthcare of Cullman. The trainer will be Tommie Sanders, Substance Abuse Services program manager for Cullman County and Prevention Manager for Cullman and Madison Counties, and who has worked at Wellstone for 15 years.

Participants will need to register as there is an online portion that must be completed prior to the in-person class. The participant will be able to earn a certificate that is good for three years if they attend the entire in-person class on both days and complete the post quiz and survey online.

There are currently 10 spots available to fill. Anyone who is interested can sign up at the circulation desk at the Cullman County Library or contact Tommie Sanders at 256-715-6323 or Sign-ups end July 13. Both sessions must be attended for a total of eight hours of training.

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