WILLMAR — When Val Swanson took a class in mental health first aid, the lesson that hit home the most was hearing it called the CPR of mental health.
“That made an impact on me — that we should be treating this like all first aid,” said Swanson, who coordinates the chemical dependency counseling certificate program at Ridgewater College.
Local trainers have offered the course since 2010 to help raise the public’s knowledge about how to recognize and respond to mental health situations, especially before there’s a crisis.
“It’s really about education and trying to decrease some of the stigma,” said Kimberly Holm, director of the adult rehabilitation unit at Woodland Centers.
Holm and Leslie Kveene, director of the youth and adult crisis center and detox unit at Woodland Centers, are among about 20 certified mental health first aid trainers in Minnesota.