Mental Health First Aid training equips people to assist others experiencing a mental health crisis

ISHPEMING — On Monday, Great Lakes Recovery Center held a training course for people who want to learn more about how to help someone having a mental health crisis.

Mental Health First Aid training was held at U.P. Health System – Bell. The eight–hour course taught participants how to understand, identify, and respond to a number of mental health issues, from psychosis to anxiety to depression to eating disorders.

The training equips participants with the skills necessary to help someone they encounter experiencing a mental health crisis. According to Mental Health First Aid instructors, this type of training is essential to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness.

“There is an increased rate of suicide in our country, and younger and younger people are successfully killing themselves,” said instructor Mary Francsek. “We need to do something as a community to help. It’s important to rid ourselves of the stigma of mental illness. It’s important for us to learn how to respond to mental illness and suicide. It’s just important.”

Mental Health First Aid instructors and Great Lakes Recovery Center staff also hope that offering this training will increase the number of people in the community who are able to assist others who need help.

Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or someone in the community, having first aid training in mental health issues enables a person to assist anyone having a mental health crisis.

“The more people know, the greater the chance of reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health issues,” said Great Lakes Recovery Center Coordinator Amy Poirier. “And we really want to reduce the stigma surrounding that in the community. And if we can get everybody trained, just like CPR first aid, then they can help anybody that they might meet or know in the community who needs some assistance until professional help arrives.”

Mental Health First Aid training is free to the public, although limited space is available. The next courses will be held at different locations in the area on November 3 and December 4.

If you’d like to sign up for either of those courses or to learn more about Great Lakes Recovery Center, you can find more information here.