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School teams up with state to host first N.C. Mental Health First Aid Instructor Summit

UNC School of Social Work’s Behavioral Healthcare Resource Program (BHRP) and the N.C. Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services teamed up to host the first N.C. Mental Health First Aid Instructor Summit in Raleigh on May 18.

Vice President for Public Relations for the National Council for Behavioral Health Betsy Schwartz, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Aldona Wos, Department of Public Safety Secretary Frank Perry, and Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health Dave Richard joined the 112 certified instructors to celebrate the state’s achievement of training 10,000 Mental Health First Aiders in the state.

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based practice focusing on the general population (non-mental health professionals).  Individuals completing the training have been shown to increase their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors for mental illness and addiction; identify multiple types of self-help and professional resources for mental illness and addiction; experience an increased confidence and likelihood to help an individual in distress; and show an increased mental wellness themselves.

BHRP faculty Lisa Lackmann, Ron Mangum and Tara Bohley; and Project Consultant Kathryn Falbo-Woodson, MSW student; have been training Mental Health First Aid and organizing the statewide effort for dissemination since 2013.

By Tara Bohley