Mental health first aid course moved to February in McDonald County – Arkansas Online

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PINEVILLE, Mo. — A mental health first aid training course will be held at McDonald County Library in February. The course was initially scheduled to take place Thursday but is being rescheduled due to an increase in covid-19 cases in McDonald County.
Steve Bearden, education coordinator at Ozark Center, said the goal for the upcoming workshop is to educate the general population of McDonald County about mental health challenges and how to spot challenges people may be facing.
“It is a training intended for the general population that is interested in gaining some awareness of mental health issues,” Bearden said. “The real impact is to try and identify mental health challenges in people around you so that you might know how to intervene and interact with persons that are having challenges.”
Bearden said the workshop includes a two-hour pre-study before the in-person class begins, followed by a 5½-hour in-person learning session. Spots for the course have been filled with a set number of people able to attend the in-person training.
Bearden said the course is being offered for the first time in McDonald County, with the hopes of offering the course again in the future. Bearden said course attendees will learn more about how to identify and intervene in the presence of mental health struggles.
“The day’s training also features how to deal with suicidal kinds of issues and tendencies; there’s also a look at recognizing worsening symptoms, and how to recognize early symptoms,” Bearden said. “The goal is that, by the end of the training, they will have a certain confidence in dealing with mental health struggles and challenges, no matter what stage it’s at.”
Bearden said course attendees will dive into the acronym A.L.G.E.E., which stands for assess and approach, listening nonjudgmentally, giving reassurance and information, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage self-help.
Roger Koch, military liaison, will be teaching the upcoming first aid health course. Koch said the upcoming course gives community members the opportunity to learn more about mental health awareness and how to adequately care for individuals facing mental health struggles.
“It gives the chance to reassure and inform the individuals,” Koch said. “We want to make mental health awareness as common as CPR, the topics we’re going to cover are the signs and symptoms.” Koch said he wants event attendees to be able to spread the knowledge they gained in the workshop with other community members and leave a larger footprint of mental health awareness.
Koch said, as covid-19 is worsening, mental health is worsening alongside it. Koch said the workshop will allow community members to help others as well as help themselves during a time where mental health challenges are more prevalent. “With the growing issues with the pandemic, mental health issues have really become a paramount issue with a lot of communities,” Bearden said. “Communities (are) struggling with how to deal with mental health issues. There’s a certain anxiety that kind of permeates individual lives as we struggle to deal with all the changes.”
The upcoming workshop will soon be rescheduled to a later date in February. Those interested in attending the workshop will have the opportunity when later workshops are offered in McDonald County. Individuals already enrolled in the course will have their spots reserved for the rescheduled course date.

Print Headline: Mental health first aid course moved to February
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