Police Department and Ventura Behavioral Health hosts mental health program

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that can help individuals across the community to understand mental illnesses, support timely intervention and save lives. The two part 8-hour course, hosted by the Ventura Police Department and Ventura County Behavioral Health, introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health concerns, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect persons to professional, peer and social supports as well as self-help resources.

Mental Health First Aid allows for early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and addictions. The program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like “What can I do?” and “Where can someone find help?” Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups, and online tools for mental health and addictions treatment and support.

Training 1: Youth Mental Health First Aid June 28 & 29, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. is designed to teach neighbors, teachers, parents, peers, and caring citizens how to help a youth or teen who is experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or is in crisis.

Training 2: Adult Mental Health First Aid July 19 & 20, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. is designed to train adults to help someone facing a mental health problem.

There is no cost for the course. Funding comes through Ventura County Behavioral Health. To register please email Mary Ellen Collins, Certified Trainer: mecollins@voice4families.com or call 657-4408. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

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