On May 1, eight Via employees completed certification in the very first offering of Mental Health First Aid, an 8-hour evidence-based certification course which aims to teach members of the public how to respond to a mental health emergency and offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional distress. Thanks to the generous support of The Colorado Health Foundation, the City of Longmont is offering this class at no charge. The goal of Longmont’s grant-funded program is to train 2,000 people during the two-year cycle of the grant.
What Do People Learn in a Mental Health First Aid Course? Just as CPR training helps a person with no clinical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps a person assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. In both situations, the goal is to help support an individual until appropriate professional help arrives. Mental Health First Aiders learn a single 5-step strategy that includes assessing risk, respectfully listening to and supporting the individual in crisis, and identifying appropriate professional help and other supports. Participants are also introduced to risk factors and warning signs for mental health or substance use problems, engage in experiential activities that build an understanding of the impact of illness on individuals and families and learn about evidence-supported treatment and self-help strategies.
Via is making Mental Health First Aid mandatory training for supervisors, operations specialists and road supervisors. All Via employees are encouraged to participate in the program and obtain certification.