Mental Health First Aid Training Opens New Doors For Clergy

Several Pastors, Faith Based Leaders, and Professionals, gathered at the Reynolds Road Library on Thursday, in an unprecedented manner to learn how to look at a non-traditional, taboo, often neglected subject in the church: MENTAL HEALTH. MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING was presented as a TOOL for the Leaders.

One goal for the day was to help the participants learn how to become sensitized and more aware of disorders and behaviors associated with Mental Health that may not be so easy to identify. Victoria Webb and Celeste Smith, Trainers, also emphasized that another purpose of the training was to get information so that one will have greater understanding and be able to better deal with individuals in the congregations or family members, who may be facing stressful times and or crises, as well as how they may be the first responder if or when trauma occurs and knowing what to do.

20 people entered into the room with no idea of what they would leave with at the end of the day. However, when becoming familiar with the agenda of the day, it became apparent that individuals were in for a day filled with an insurmountable amount of needed information. Individuals participated in exercises that were designed to identify MH problems. Victoria stated that MH problems are common, that 1 in 4 has a MH problem. Another valuable exercise that brought home real images and perceptions in the minds of participants, was that of getting rid of negative words associated with MH.

Many of the participants in the training are members of the U.M.A.D.A.O.P. Substance Abuse Clergy Alliance. They stated that they found the training very valuable in their role as a Pastor. Trauma was also emphasized and participants were encouraged to learn what TRAUMA looks like, as well as to recognize the warning signs and changes identified in individuals behaviors.

It was a day filled with information that certainly broadened the scope of the participants who stated at the end, that they were glad to have shared in the training. They were able to understand through the MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING, that MH is a state of being well to a state of disorder.

This training is an 8 hour training and will be completed on October 9th. Participants will earn a certificate for completing the training. Also present was Scott Skylar, Executuve Director of the Lucas County Mental Health Recovery Services Board, who spoke with the group about the need for continued services and support of the Board and upcoming levy. A job well done to Victoria Webb and Celeste Smith. Thank you!

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