Howell program will instruct participants about mental health first aid

HOWELL – On Feb. 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Howell Alliance for Substance Use
Prevention and Mental Health Awareness will host a Youth Mental Health First Aid certification training session at the Howell municipal building, 4567 Route 9 North, second floor.

This six-hour training session will give people the tools needed to identify when youths might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem and to connect those individuals with appropriate support and resources when necessary, according to a press release from the alliance.

For registrants, a virtual training platform will be in place for the same date and time, should the in-person training not be permitted per state or local gathering regulations.

Although one in five Americans has a mental illness, people of all ages are reluctant to seek help due to fear of stigmas or because they may 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, according to the press release.

Mental health first aid prepares participants to confidently interact with a person who is  experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental health first-aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support, according to the press release.

“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which helped bring mental health first aid to the United States in 2008. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they may need.”

To register for the Feb, 27 training session, visit Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/youth-mental-health-first-aid-certificate-training-
virtual-if-necessary-tickets-138155868923

Participants must wear a face covering and bring their own food and drinks for the day, and be ready for virtual training as an alternative training option that day, according to the press release.

For event information, contact Christa Riddle, alliance coordinator, at criddle@twp.howell.nj.us or call 732-938-4500 ext. 4012.