Mental Health First Aid USA helps you gain the skills to assist someone experiencing mental health challenges, ranging from psychosis to substance use disorder.

Millions of Americans — nearly 58 million — experience mental illness every year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In Virginia alone, roughly 308,000 adults (that's six percent of Virginia's population) have had a serious mental illness in the past year, according NAMI. More than 100,000 Virginia children and adolescents have a serious emotional disturbance, NAMI also says.

With numbers that high, it's likely that you will encounter someone experiencing an emotional or mental crisis in your day-to-day life. That's why the City of Virginia Beach Behavioral Health and Wellness Prevention Services is offering Mental Health First Aid USA -- a free, eight-hour education program open to the public.

WHAT: Mental Health First Aid USA
WHEN: Wed., July 18 | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Virginia Beach Convention Center
COST: Free

Through role-playing and simulations, the course demonstrates how to recognize and respond to warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges, such as anxiety and depression.

Those who attend will not learn to diagnose or provide therapy or counseling. Instead, attendees are taught to support the person in crisis. The course does this through a five-step plan, according to the City of Virginia Beach website:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Anyone is welcome to the adult mental health training course. For more information or to register, call 757-385-0803 or visit the City of Virginia Beach website.

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