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Mental Health First Aid hits western suburbs

Published: Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 1:19 p.m. CDT

COUNTRYSIDE – The Lyons Township Mental Health Commission recently trained 11 local government personnel during a Mental Health First Aid program in an attempt to improve mental health literacy.

The training, which took place Dec. 11, was intended to help participants identify, understand and respond to signs of illness. Pillars and the Community Memorial Foundation also helped provide the training. 

“It really helps people understand the shroud of fear and misjudgment facing individuals and families who experience mental illnesses and addiction,” said Ron Melka, the health commission’s executive director. “It will help rid this community of the associated stigma and move more and more people toward recovery.”

The Mental Health First Aid certification course teaches participants a five-step plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual. The training originated in 2001 in Australia and has since been replicated in 20 countries. During its pilot year in 2012 in the U.S., the program was conducted in almost 20 states. 

For more information, to schedule a training event or to participate in upcoming Mental Health First Aid training in the western suburbs, call Gale Christoff at the Community Memorial Foundation at 630-654-4729.    

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