News, Your Health Seth Stratton | 7 years ago

Local Students Receive Mental Health First Aid Training

Recognizing severe emotional stress and knowing how to react or help can be the first steps in reducing the stigma around this growing national crisis. As part of a national effort, Carolinas HealthCare System is leading the way by providing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to college students in the area.  
What is Mental Health First Aid? Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses.
  The System is also requiring the course for all students at its Carolinas College of Health Sciences. MHFA teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse. “Suicide is such a sensitive issue, and often people opt to say nothing rather than risk saying the wrong thing,” said Zaneta Harris, a nursing student at Gardner-Webb University in Cleveland County and recent MHFA participant. “Courses like MHFA help to empower people with knowledge and give them an entry point to talk about suicide.”
Zaneta Harris Zaneta Harris
Shortly after completing her MHFA course, Harris encountered a friend who confided she was feeling emotionally unstable. Listening to her friend’s experience, Harris decided she better ask if suicidal thoughts were an issue. “I normally wouldn’t have been bold enough to ask her that, but the course taught me that it’s better to ask than not. It’s important to talk about it, if they are in fact thinking about harming themselves,” she said. If you think someone may be struggling with thoughts of suicide or a mental issue, assess the situation and provide help with an acronym used in MHFA classes: ALGEE.  A     Assess for risk of suicide or harm L     Listen non-judgmentally G     Give reassurance and information E     Encourage appropriate professional help E     Encourages self-help and other support strategies   Interested in learning more about Mental Health First Aid? Visit