Mental Health First Aid course coming to Holmes

By Jason Keller
The Budget

The statistics are staggering.

One in five adults has a mental health condition. That number equates to more than the population of New York and Florida added together. (Mental Health America Study January 2018)

Youth mental health is continuing a downward spiral. Severe depression has been diagnosed at a rate of eight per 100, up from five in 2012. According to Mental Health America, 76 percent of youth are not treated for their mental well-being.

To help combat the problem and give professionals as well as people in the community a benchmark and guide, the Mental Health and Recovery Board of Wayne and Holmes counties has put together a course set for November 9. Tabbed as mental health first aid, the class will be of the all-day variety and be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holmes County Department of Job and Family Services in Millersburg. It is open to everyone and the fee is $20 per person to cover printed materials, payable at the door and continuing education credits are available.

Funds to help cover the cost of the course come from levy money generated by a tax in both Wayne and Holmes counties. According to Vicky Hartzler who serves as the associate director of the Mental Health and Recovery Board, outreach and education opportunities are important. “Suicide-prevention programs, mental health first aid, and other similar outreach arms are supported by these local funds,” she stated of programs with local importance that are not covered by the State of Ohio.

She noted that professionals in other fields, including those in the human resources niche, could find the class useful. She also noted that first-responders, community leaders, teachers, ministerial staff and youth leaders should consider attending.

The course is one based on a set of principles similar to those taught for basic life-saving skills such as CPR and first-aid.

“If they know what to do and what to say, anyone, anywhere, can make a difference in the life of someone with a mental health issue,” explained Betty Kitchener, a nurse who created the program in conjunction with Tony Jorm in 2001. The program is now operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health in a relationship with the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

The course teaches a unique five-step action plan that helps attendees assess the situation at hand and how to engage someone who needs help. By using a system that includes practice with various role plays, Mental Health First Aid offers practice while learning.

To sign up for Mental Health First Aid, email Pamela Semenya at Be sure to include basic contact info, including your name, phone number, and email address. For more information, call 330-674-1111. Holmes County JFS is located at 85 North Grant Street, Millersburg.

This story originally appeared in the October 24, 2018 edition of The Budget. For more news, pick up a copy of this week’s edition available Wednesdays at area retailers. Better yet, subscribe and the news will be delivered to you each week. For more information, call us at 330-852-4634.