Would you know what to do if someone you know needed Mental Health First Aid?

Would you know what to do if someone you know needed Mental Health First Aid? According to a release from Dodge City's Area Mental Health Center (AMH), you are more likely to encounter someone — a friend, family member, coworker, neighbor — in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. In fact, studies show mental disorders are more common than heart disease and cancer combined. In an effort to help people recognize the signs and symptoms exhibited during a crisis, Dodge City's AMH Center is offering a 12-hour course on Mental Health First Aid. The focus of the course will be on a five-step action plan to offer initial help to people with the signs and symptoms of a mental illness or who are in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self-help care. The course will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 7, 14 and 21 at the Area Mental Health Community Services building in Dodge City. Enrollment is open to the public and AMH is encouraging everyone from teachers to leaders of faith communities to attend. According to Regional Director for AMH Vicki Broz, the class is limited to 30 people. During the course, participants will learn the potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems including depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury. There will also be a segment on understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in local communities. According to Regional Director for AMH Vicki Broz, this year marks the first time a mental health first aid course has been offered for the community. "In the past, we have offered the training only in-house to our staff," Broz said. She said the professionals at AMH use the training everyday through their contact with clients as well as their own team. Broz gave the example of knowing how to approach and recognize signs a withdrawing co-worker may be exhibiting. "The training teaches you how to ask the right questions and talk openly about a situation versus just turning your head and not addressing a possible issue," she said. Registration forms are available at the Area Mental Health Center located at 2101 Highway 50 Bypass, Dodge City. For more information or to register by E-mail, contact Broz at vbroz@areamhc.org or (620) 227-8566. A fee of $15 per attendee will cover the cost of a book that accompanies the course.