There are 1.5 million people trained to be the difference in their communities with Mental Health First Aid. This means that 1.5 million people know how to understand, recognize and respond to someone experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. As the number of Americans facing a mental health condition continues to grow every day, this is more important than ever before.
Here are just a few ways Mental Health First Aiders have used their training to help those around them:
“My 16-year-old daughter lost her life to suicide two years ago and I am a survivor. I have taken the reins in our community for suicide awareness. I sponsored and took the Mental Health First Aid for youth, and since then I have been contacted by several people in crisis. I feel more confident in listening and helping others after taking this class. Recently, I had a person reach out to me saying they could not think of anyone else to talk to but me, even though they did not know me. They were very depressed and cutting. The tough part was that it was over Facebook messenger and they lived 40+ miles away. I tried to talk with them but when they stopped responding, I called law enforcement. Twenty minutes later, I received a text. They were being transported to the emergency room and then they were an in-patient. When they got out of the hospital, they texted me and were so thankful that somebody who did not even know them would take the time and make an effort to help.” – Ray Stenglein, First Aider
“I am a college professor. The week after I received Mental Health First Aid training, an advisee came to me in crisis. He had failed a major test. At first, he just seemed mad, but then he started crying. He was saying things like, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I’m done. I’m ending this.’ I originally thought he just meant he would drop the class. But, because of my training, I asked him to clarify what he meant. When I asked what strategies he could use to help him through this stressful time, he said, ‘I can heavily medicate myself.’ Without the training, I would have thought that he was just being sarcastic or joking. But, because of my training, I pressed more. I asked if he was considering suicide. He responded with, ‘It’s crossed my mind.’ I was able to use the ALGEE action plan to help him, and a crisis was averted. He has since stabilized and received professional help. I shudder to think what might have occurred if I ignored those signs. So, thank you so much.” – Kathleen Wack, First Aider
“Taking this course has certainly caused me try to become more cognizant of, and sensitive to, the varying mental health environments and situations that I find myself in, both personally and professionally, on a daily basis. Invaluable information was provided that I believe is vitally important to stay up-to-date on our present and ever-changing world. I have provided a coworker with an opportunity to express herself after losing a family member, listened to my roommate share about a family member who is near the end of their life and always keep my ears open as I work with children in schools.” – Brian M. Flanagan, First Aider
It’s clear that Mental Health First Aiders like you are making a difference in their communities. We appreciate your dedication to helping others and encourage you to continue to #BeTheDifference.