Michigan Brings Mental Health First Aid Trainings to Communities

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2014

LANSING, Mich.  – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is joining with Governor Rick Snyder and local Mental Health First Aid trainers to celebrate Michigan Mental Health First Aid week May 18-26, to raise awareness about the trainings available to residents to help identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness. Across Michigan, several nationally certified instructors and agencies will conduct 50 trainings during Michigan Mental Health First Aid Week and train between 1,000 and 1,500 members of the public.

“With the guidance of Governor Snyder and Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, Michigan has taken some important recent steps to improve mental health services in our communities,” said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH. “Of special note are the Mental Health First Aid trainings that are being increased within our communities.”

Mental Health First Aid is a 8-hour training certification course which teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual, the certification program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.  Thorough evaluations in randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proved the CPR-like program effective in improving trainees’ knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma and increasing the amount of help provided to others. 

The MDCH, in collaboration with community organizations throughout the state, are working to ensure Mental Health First Aid training is made available to residents throughout Michigan communities. Currently, Mental Health First Aid trainings are being conducted free of charge for those who work or reside within Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Kalamazoo, Kent, Macomb, Muskegon, Oakland, and Wayne counties. Residents of other counties may take the training for a fee.

Mental Health First Aid originated in 2001 in Australia under the direction of founders Betty Kitchener and Tony Jorm. To date, it has been replicated in twenty other countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Scotland, England, Canada, Finland, and Singapore.

For more information or to find a Mental Health First Aid training in your area, visit www.michigan.gov/mentalhealthfirstaid.

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