The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Mental Health First Aid in Rural Texas will offer a series of free two-day mental health first aid trainings monthly beginning Sept. 28-29 and ending in February.
The trainings will be held virtually on the Zoom platform. Participants must complete a two-hour self-paced online class before attending the two-day training.
The first day of the training will be an instructor-led course from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Unless otherwise specified, the second day will be a workshop focused on drug-use trends from 9-10:30 a.m. Participants must be able to attend both days of training.
Attendance is limited. Those interested should contact Rachel Brauner, AgriLife Extension program specialist – military programs, Bryan-College Station, at 979-321-5021 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible for more information and to reserve their spot for any to the upcoming trainings.
The training dates will be: Sept. 28-29, Oct. 21-22, Nov. 17-18, Dec. 8-9, Jan. 20-21 and Feb. 16-17.
About Mental Health First Aid in Rural Texas
Mental Health First Aid in Rural Texas is sponsored by AgriLife Extension, said Brauner.
“One in five people in the U.S. suffer from some type of mental illness,” Brauner said. “Mental Health First Aid training helps people learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.”
Brauner said AgriLife Extension works with various audiences to promote mental health, including current and former military members and their families.
“While this training is being offered under the auspices of supporting the military, it can also be used by law enforcement, first-responders, health care workers and others who reside or serve in rural settings,” Brauner said. “The training will show them how to provide initial support to anyone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and to help put them in contact with those who can give them the appropriate care.”
What the training does
Mental Health First Aid – Adults training will address:
— Common signs and symptoms of mental illness.
— Common signs and symptoms of substance use.
— How to interact with a person in crisis.
— How to connect the person with appropriate help.
There will also be expanded content on trauma, addiction and self-care.
The course will show participants how to apply the Mental Health First Aid ALGEE action plan.
“The ALGEE plan is a step-by-step action plan to use when providing support to someone who may be experiencing a distressing situation,” Brauner said. “It’s very much the same concept as administering first aid as an initial response after a person has had an accident.”
The plan has five steps, which can be used in any order. They are:
— Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
— Listen non-judgmentally.
— Give reassurance and provide information.
— Encourage appropriate professional help.
— Encourage self-help and other support strategies.
“This training is focused on initial support so that in a non-crisis situation, you can go through the ALGEE plan and offer support to the person in need,” Brauner said. “But if there’s a crisis situation where a person is talking about harming themself or others or acting erratically, it may be necessary to call 911 and ask the dispatcher to send someone with specific training in mental health or crisis de-escalation.”
Brauner emphasized that the role of the person applying Mental Health First Aid is not to diagnose the person or attempt to solve the problem, but instead to provide useful support and information.