Texas A&M University Texarkana
Texas A&M University Texarkana

Texas A&M University-Texarkana Extended Education and Community Development and Office of Counseling Services will host a Mental Health First Aid training program.

The event according to a university press release will be on Wednesday, May 24, from 8AM to 5PM in University Center 116 on the A&M-Texarkana campus.

“We are thrilled to offer the Mental Health First Aid program in our community,” said Barbara Wilson, LPC, director of Counseling Services at A&M-Texarkana. “This important educational effort goes a lot further than emergency intervention; it really helps people understand the shroud of fear and misjudgment facing individuals and families who experience mental illnesses and addiction. It will help rid this community of the associated stigma and move more and more people toward recovery.”

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour training certification course that teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions, and secure appropriate care for the individual. This course is being facilitated by Briana Taylor, LPC, with the A&M-Texarkana Counseling Services office. Cost is $55, which includes training materials.

The program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments.  Thorough evaluations in randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proved the CPR-like program effective in improving trainees’ knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma and increasing the amount of help provided to others.

“Mental health problems are extremely common and we probably all know someone that struggles with mental health issues. This interactive course will equip each participant with skills to provide a lifesaving intervention to someone in need,” said Taylor. “Mental Health First Aid is listed in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices. Research has consistently shown it to be effective at reducing stigma. Research also shows it to be effective at increasing each participant’s confidence in helping others and at increasing the likelihood that a participant will advise a person to seek professional help. We know that it strengthens communities, while also changing lives, and we are grateful for the opportunity to provide these trainings here.”

Since its introduction in 2008, one million people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid nationwide.

For more information or to participate in a Mental Health First Aid training at Texas A&M University-Texarkana contact Shelley Caraway at EECD@tamut.edu.

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