Program teaches mental health first aid

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WAND)- More than a dozen people spent their Saturday learning about mental illness. 

The Mental Health First Aid program was held at the Central Baptist Church in Springfield. Memorial Behavioral certified instructors teaches participants the knowledge and skills to help those who are  developing a mental illness or experiencing a crisis to find a path to recovery. The eight-hour course is free, except for a small fee to cover the material. It covers a variety of topics including the signs of addictions and mental illness, impact of mental and substance use disorders, a five step action plan to assess a situation and help and local resources and where to turn to for help. 

The class is taught for participants to act as almost a first responder when they realize something is wrong. 

"This course gives them and action plan to be able to respond to this case and get people the help they need until help arrives of a more professional nature. So kind of like you would perform CPR until help arrives, that's what this is. It's giving them the tools they need as laymen to perform help until help arrives." said Rod Lane, trainer of the course, "It saves lives and it can give people the tools they need to respond. Where as before they thought maybe they didn't know what to do, and that really is what this is, and the global initiative behind this is they want to have a million first aiders, a million mental health first aiders trained and that really is what we are trying to do is be apart of that."

Central Baptist Church decided to take part in the training to help members of the congregation become familiar with signs of mental illness. 

"So often some of these things either there is a stigma or we are not comfortable talking about them and for us if we can further that conversation and learn more about it ourselves and helps us to really meet people and perhaps even ourselves what some of our deepest needs are" said Josh Sabo, Lead Pastor of Central Baptist Church.

Classes are taught throughout Central Illinois. For more information or to register for a class click here.

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