Workshop to teach mental health skills

The Wellness Center at Marshall University and the Department of Social Work are sponsoring a Mental Health First Aid class this Friday in Drinko Library.

Students, faculty and other members of the community are able to attend to become more informed about the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and what they can do to intervene.

Amy Saunders, director of the MU Wellness Center, said it is important that programs like Mental Health First Aid are brought to campus in order to spot the signs of mental health conditions in the college community.

“I think it’s really important to get some good, basic information about what mental health is and mental well-being,” Saunders said. “There historically has been a lot of stigma attached to that issue, and so we are, and a lot of advocates nationwide, are trying to break down those barriers surrounding mental health. This program is one of those programs designed to help do that, to inform individuals, and it’s meant for communities.”

Participants at the Mental Health First Aid training will learn important skills designed to help someone who may be developing a mental health disorder, Saunders said.

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 75 percent of mental illnesses develop before the age of 25, making college campuses a common place where these illnesses can come to light.

“Anybody who works with students, this is important for them,” Saunders said. “It’ll help you recognize signs that a student might be struggling with a mental health issue or concern.”

Saunders said Mental Health First Aid will provide participants with a simple five-step action plan to support someone who is potentially suffering from an emotional crisis or mental health condition, as well as other skills and techniques to become involved.

“Health is health, whether it’s something to do with your brain or mind or something to do with your body,” Saunders said. “All of that really needs to be integrated because both have effects on the other.”

Mental Health First Aid training is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday in Drinko Library Room 138 and registration is available online.

Hanna Pennington can be contacted at [email protected].