DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - First aid training teaches how to help individuals who are suffering physically, but mental health first aid training also can be important.
On Thursday, several Central Illinois residents were certified in youth mental health first aid training at an all-day session in Decatur.
The training was a partnership between the Heritage Behavioral Health Center and Decatur Public Schools, and was taught by Heritage employees Jessica Smiley and Leslie Risby.
“Really it’s just an opportunity for individuals to learn more about, how can we support youth who may be experiencing a mental health concern or crisis," Smiley said.
The training, which was free and open to the public, was held at the Student Services Training Center in Decatur.
Smiley said among the questions and ideas explored were figuring out if an individual is safe, whether someone needs to intervene immediately, if they just need to be connected to support, and listening non-judgmentally.
The training sessions are held twice a month. In addition to the three-year certification, trainees get a free youth mental health first aid manual, and most importantly, they receive the tools to take action and help youths in crisis.
“I think (the training is) important because it reduces the stigma associated with mental health," Risby said. "And it encourages people to get involved, to ask the question, and sometimes that’s really all it takes is just asking a question, and that’s important.”
For a schedule of upcoming youth mental health first aid trainings from Heritage Behavioral Health Center, visit their Facebook page here.