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OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES AND LOCAL NONPROFIT, DCCCA, OFFERING MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID TRAINING 

Program provides training for adults to help with mental health crises during National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month in September 

EDMOND (Sept. 5, 2023) – The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) offers numerous mental health and addiction training and educational events throughout the year. During National Suicide Prevention and Recovery Month in September, ODMHSAS and DCCCA Oklahoma are offering three Mental Health First Aid Trainings for adults to help with mental health crises. 

DCCCA offers two training curriculums: Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training, which provides participants with skills to assist adults experiencing a mental health or substance challenge, and Youth MHFA, which teaches adults techniques to assist youth showing early warning signs of these challenges. Both curriculums also cover crises such as suicide and overdose. A staggering 4.1% of adults in Oklahoma had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year, with one in 10 students reporting attempted suicide in the past 12 months, highlighting the need for early intervention and mental health resources for youth and adults in the state. All participants must be 18+ years of age to take the training.

“Mental Health First Aid training provides adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to help Oklahoma youth and adults struggling with mental health challenges,” DCCCA Director of Oklahoma Community Initiatives Lisa Harper, MBA, said. “Recognizing the warning signs and knowing how to respond is vital to providing early intervention.”

The trainers teach participants to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges. They also train them to be nonjudgmental listeners who provide reassurance, support and resources for those experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. 

MHFA covers the importance of early intervention, worsening situations and crises. The training’s crisis sections focus on suicide, substance use crisis, psychosis and following a traumatic event. Participants will engage in role-playing exercises, watch videos that illustrate real-life situations and learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health challenges. 

MHFA is an evidence-based curriculum with required training modules. ODMHSAS and DCCCA are offering in-person, blended and virtual training. For all blended MHFA courses, participants must complete two hours of self-paced pre-work in the MHFA connect system before attending the training class. Once registration closes for a course, participants will receive an email with login credentials to the MHFA connect system to complete the required pre-work. The MHFA qualifies for six Continuing Education Units (CEUs) as a nationally recognized course with a three-year certification. 

“Everyone has a role in preventing suicide. No matter who you are, you can help save a life by knowing the warning signs and understanding what to do when you recognize someone is at risk,” ODMHSAS Commissioner Carrie Slatton-Hodges said. “By offering mental health training, we empower adults with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide early intervention and encourage youth and adults on their mental health journey.”

Training classes are open to all Oklahoma residents, including teachers, coaches, youth program managers, youth pastors, parents, managers, human resource professionals, construction field managers, client-facing staff positions, customer service positions, faith leaders and any adult desiring education in ways to help others experiencing mental health issues.

The Adult MHFA class on Friday, Sept. 8, is a fully in-person training from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. There will be no pre-work for this training event. DCCCA Oklahoma will host the event at 825 S. Kelly Avenue, Suite 120, Edmond, Oklahoma, 73003. Register at mhfa-ok.org/calendar for Adult MHFA – FULL In Person on Friday, Sept. 8

The Youth MHFA class on Wednesday, Sept. 13, is a blended/virtual class from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Before attending the live virtual training class on Zoom, participants must complete two hours of self-paced pre-work in the MHFA connect system. Register at mhfa-ok.org/calendar for Youth MHFA – Blended/Virtual on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

The Adult MHFA class on Wednesday, Sept. 27, is a blended/virtual class from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Before attending the live virtual training class on Zoom, participants must complete two hours of self-paced pre-work in the MHFA connect system. Register at mhfa-ok.org/calendar for Adult MHFA – Blended/Virtual on Wednesday, Sept. 27.

A former participant stated, “I wish more people I know could have just a small portion of this training so that they could understand and be more understanding and helpful when dealing with mental illness and substance use. I look differently at situations now that I feel empowered to make a difference.”

For more information on the courses or for those interested in signing up, visit mhfa-ok.org/calendar.

Additionally, the ODMHSAS Training Institute provides numerous other mental health and addiction training and educational events throughout the year to partners, professional care providers and the community. ODMHSAS trainings help others take learning and professional development into their own hands by providing easy access to training and quality education on behavioral health and substance use topics. 

An online catalog of instructor-led and on-demand courses and conferences supporting increasing awareness, personal development, continuing education and professional growth can be found at https://oklahoma.gov/odmhsas/trainings/training-institute.html

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About ODMHSAS

ODMHSAS operates a comprehensive network of statewide programs dedicated to meeting the needs and improving the quality of lives for all Oklahomans through efficient and easily accessible services. For individuals faced with mental health and addiction challenges, ODMHSAS offers one of the nation’s most comprehensive community-based treatment continuums in the U.S. In addition, the ODMHSAS prioritizes prevention and recovery programs to promote well-being and reduce substance use to help enhance protective factors across every Oklahoma community. 

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