Mental Health First Aid
The Need for Mental Health Education
One in five Americans has a mental illness and many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. The symptoms of mental illness can be difficult to detect. Even when friends and family see the signs of mental illness, they may not know how to intervene or direct the person to proper treatment. As a result, those in need of mental health services frequently do not get them until it is too late. Lincoln knows the critical need for education and training to help communities understand mental illnesses, seek timely intervention and save lives.
The Lincoln Solution: Mental Health First Aid
Lincoln provides the Mental Health First Aid USA™ program to a variety of community organizations and institutions—from law enforcement and safety officials to school staff and families—to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and addictions. With a focus on evidence-based adult education, Lincoln’s Mental Health First Aid program has proven effective in improving participants’ knowledge and modifying their attitudes and perceptions about mental health and related issues, including how to respond to individuals who are in mental health crisis or in the early stages of showing symptoms. Mental Health First Aid is recognized as a model evidence-based program through SAMHSA.
Unique Program Model
Trained Lincoln instructors, certified in Mental Health First Aid, deliver the interactive eight-hour training course, which introduces participants to risk factors, warning signs, and symptoms for a range of mental health problems and substance use disorders; builds participants' understanding of the impact and prevalence of the issue; and provides an overview of common support and resources. Participants are also taught a five-step action plan for providing Mental Health First Aid to an individual in crisis. The course helps participants not only gain confidence in their capacity to approach and offer assistance to others, but also to improve their personal mental health. After completing the course and passing an examination, participants are certified for three years as a Mental Health First Aider.
The Program in Action
Individuals trained in Mental Health First Aid learn how to help friends, family members, colleagues or others in their communities by developing skills to:
- Break down the bias against people living with mental illnesses, addictions and suicidal thinking
- Reach out to those who suffer in silence, reluctant to seek help
- Let individuals struggling with mental illnesses and addictions know that support is available
- Provide community resources
- Make behavioral health care and treatment accessible to thousands in need
Who Should Take the Mental Health First Aid Course?
Anyone who wants to learn how to provide initial help to someone who may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness or crisis, including:
- College and university leaders
- Educators and school administrators
- Human resource professionals
- Nurses/physicians assistants/primary care workers
- Public safety personnel
- Members of faith communities
- Social service staff and volunteers
- Substance abuse professionals
- Social workers