City of Virginia Beach to hold free mental health first aid training

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – People are more likely to encounter someone – friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, or member of the community – in an emotional or mental crisis than they are someone having a heart attack.

The City of Virginia Beach Behavioral Health and Wellness Prevention Services wants them to be prepared – and they’re holding a free public education program July 18 to get them there.

Mental Health First Aid USA is an 8-hour program designed to give people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.  The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to recognize and respond to the warning signs of specific illnesses.

It will be held Wednesday, July 18 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center (1000 19th Street, Suite 4A).

The course will teach participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges including anxiety, depression, psychosis, and substance use disorder. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – instead, they learn to support a person developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan.

  1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
  2. Listen nonjudgmentally.
  3. Give reassurance and information.
  4. Encourage appropriate professional help.
  5. Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

Anyone can take the 8-hour Adult Mental Health First Aid course – first responders, students, teachers, leaders of faith communities and other caring citizens. For more information or to register, call (757) 385-0803.