Mental health first aid classes

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that can help individuals across the community 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, will be held March 7 & 8 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Ventura Police Department located at 1425 Dowell Drive in Ventura.

Participants will learn about common mental health and substance use disorders, warning signs and symptoms of mental health problems, potential risk factors, local resources and support. The course also 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. It also provides information on how to 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 addiction. 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.

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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