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School awarded federal grant to provide Mental Health First Aid training at UNC

The Behavioral Healthcare Resource Program (BHRP) at the UNC School of Social Work was awarded a $373,388 grant to provide Mental Health First Aid training to UNC-Chapel Hill faculty and staff. Free training sessions began in February and will continue through summer 2018.

Mental Health First Aid is a public education evidence-based program that introduces participants to the risk factors and warning signs of mental health and addiction problems, builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention, and overviews common supports. This eight-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health or substance use crisis through a five-step action plan, with the ultimate goal to connect persons to appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. The program also teaches the common risk factors and warning signs of specific types of illnesses such as anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and schizophrenia. Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups, and online tools for mental health and addictions’ treatment and support.

 Peer-reviewed studies published in Australia, where the program originated, show that individuals trained in the program:

  • Grow their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions.
  • Can identify multiple types of professional and self-help resources for individuals with a mental illness or addiction.
  • Increase their confidence in and likelihood to help an individual in distress.
  • Show increased mental wellness themselves.

Studies also show that the program reduces the social distance created by negative attitudes and perceptions of individuals with mental illnesses.

Training options for the UNC sessions include a full day, two half-days, or Saturdays. Find a convenient date and time, and register. To request training for your specific group, contact the Behavioral Healthcare Resource Program at

For more information, contact Tara Bohley, BHRP program coordinator, at