Rep. takes Mental Health First Aid course

HARTFORD- In order to better educate himself on the mental health needs in his community, a press release from his office announced State Rep. Whit Betts (R-Bristol, Plymouth) participated in a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training class at the State Capitol.

The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training class teaches people how to spot the signs of someone experiencing a mental health crisis and the steps to take to help.

“Participating in the Mental Health First Aid training class has been very helpful in my understanding of how to help those in a mental health crisis. It underscores the importance of having primary care professionals, family members, school personnel and educators trained to identify students in crisis. Early intervention is key to ensuring that young people receive the appropriate treatment they need,” said Betts via a press release.

The training, offered by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction stems from the legislation passed earlier this year in response to the tragic events in Newtown. The legislation called for the state’s mental health and education commissioners to administer a mental health first aid training program, and for people serving as safe school climate coordinators to receive the training.

The 12 hour, two-part, nationally certified course helps individuals and communities better understand mental health issues. It is designed to provide people with the key skills to assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis very similar to how CPR training helps a non-medical professional assist an individual following a heart attack. Participants won’t learn how to treat a condition, but they could be able to assist someone while help is on the way, or detect signs that suggest a person needs help.