Program on Mental Health, Substance Abuse coming to Passavant

By Gary Scott on May 2, 2017 at 7:47am

Passavant Area Hospital is hosting an educational program on mental health and substance abuse in the coming weeks.

The program is designed to train members of the community to identify signs of mental illness and substance abuse.

Yoli Holmes and Barb Smith with Passavant’s Behavioral Health Unit joined WLDS’ “What’s On Your Mind?” program yesterday to discuss the upcoming program. Among the subjects covered in the program is mental health first aid. Holmes describes just exactly what mental health first aid entails.

“Mental Health Aid is similar to the American Cross First Aid.  We teach a curriculum that teaches individuals what to do in response  to a  mental health problem rather than a first aid problem or helping bandage a limb; it’s what can I do to help a person who is in a mental health crisis and how to recognize those symptoms,” says Holmes

Another aspect of mental health that the program covers is the issue suicide awareness. Smith says it’s important to recognize signs of mental illness as early as possible.

“We want to make sure that everyone is aware of suicide because with that a mental illness is terminal. If they do not get treatment, people die, and so it is very important that people recognize the signs and symptoms they need to recover from their mental illness. The thing is that we all think that pull yourself up from your bootstraps go ahead, just overcome it,  put a smile on your face. We certainly would not tell someone that who was suffering from cancer to put a smile on their face just get out of bed and you’ll be fine. It is the idea of realizing and recognizing it is a disease and it is,” Smith explains.

Holmes explains what the classes will specifically cover and how people can learn more about the program.

“Barb and I will be co-teaching several classes at Passavant. Our upcoming class is May 10th. All of these classes are eight hours long. We have class in May. We have one for youth mental health first aid for adults who can gain skills in working with youth. Then we have three more classes July 12th September 13th and November 11th so about every other month, so there are very many opportunities to sign up for classes,” says Holmes.

As Holmes mentioned, the program is Wednesday, May 10 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration fee is $16.95 and includes a training manual.