Mental Health First Aid Trainings Soar in Greater Manchester

The startling facts show that one in five Americans (adults and children) has a diagnosable mental illness or substance use disorder, yet many are reluctant to seek help.  Recognizing mental health and substance use challenges can be difficult to discern, which is why it’s so important to understand the warning signs and risk factors of those who may be dealing with those challenges. Even when it starts to become recognizable that something is amiss with a friend or family member, people may not know how to intervene or direct their loved one to proper treatment before it becomes too late or more serious.

In 2008, the National Council for Behavioral Health brought Mental Health First Aid to the United States and since then, more than 1 million people in communities across the country have been trained in Mental Health First Aid through a network of Certified Instructors.

In the last four years, certified instructors of The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (MHCGM) have conducted 32 Adult, Youth and Veteran Mental Health First Aid Trainings in the state of NH and trained over 500 individuals. Leading the pack from other Community Mental Health Centers, MHCGM has offered Mental Health First Aid training for first responders, local law enforcement, educators, social workers, health care providers, veterans, family members and more.  “We are proud to offer this evidence-based training that elevates the importance of mental health to that of physical health and reduces the stigma of mental illness.” said Alexandra Kirade, Contract Coordinator.

Mental Health First Aid teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The 8-hour course introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health concerns, builds understanding of their impact and provides an overview of common treatments. Through role-playing and simulations, it demonstrates how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions; provide initial help; and connect people to professional, peer and social supports as well as self-help resources.

Mental Health First Aid encourages early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addictions. The program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like “What can I do?” and “Where can someone find help?” Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups and online tools for mental health and addiction treatment and support.

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid programs offered go to;