We’re all familiar with the concept of First Aid, but the first thought that often comes to mind are physical practices like CPR. Similar to CPR is “Mental Health First Aid.” The idea of “Mental Health First Aid” is to recognize and assist in a mental health crisis until appropriate help arrives. Just like CPR, you can become certified in Mental Health First Aid.

The East Tennessee State University Office of Professional Development will present an eight-hour course about “Mental Health First Aid” on Saturday, Jan. 27, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the ETSU Innovation Lab. The course is open to the public and participants that complete the course will receive certification.

The cost of the course is $89, which includes the textbook. Group rates are available. Continuing education unit (CEU) certificates are available for $25.

The course instructor, Dr. Julia Bernard, feels that training not only assists in immediate moments of crisis but “also helps to remove stigmas and get a better understanding and hope for recovery.”  

Bernard is an assistant professor in the Department of Counseling and Human Services at ETSU. Besides being a certified mental health first aid instructor, she has published on sibling relationships, ethics and the family. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, a clinical fellow in the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, a certified family life educator and a board-certified human services practitioner.

Dr. Bernard believes “early intervention can aid recovery.” Most mental health issues begin in the teenage years and college students experience anxiety and depression more often than the average person.

The “Mental Health First Aid” course offered by the ETSU Office of Professional Development can be beneficial to both students and staff at ETSU. Topics include identifying the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and how to provide initial aid before guiding a person in distress toward appropriate professional help.

By becoming mental health first aid certified, faculty and students can properly assist in a campus mental health crisis. 

If the beginning of the spring semester prevents you from making it to the course on Jan. 27, watch for new course information throughout the semester. Bernard hopes to offer the course on a regular schedule during the semester.

To learn more about mental health first aid, visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org. For registration or more information, visit www.etsu.edu/professionaldevelopment and click on the appropriate picture or call 800-222-3878.