More than 250 students at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will become certified as national Mental Health First Aid trainers, thanks to a grant from the UNC System Office.
The primary goal of the Behavioral Health Initiatives Grant is to increase credentials of the critical workforce, according to LynnDee Horne, director of Counseling and Psychological Services.
Training will be offered at no cost to students majoring in nursing, counseling, social work, kinesiology, education (birth to 12th grade), school counseling, school administration and special education.
“Having our critical workforce majors training in Mental Health First Aid can lessen the severity and impact of mental health problems in our public schools, hospitals, nursing homes, counseling centers among others,” Horne said.
“We want our graduates to go in their career fields and make a larger impact on the communities they serve. This grant will help them be better prepared and effective in their careers.”
Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The 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.
Students will be trained in both adult and youth version of MHFA. Training will begin in August and continue through December 2021. Upon completion, students will become nationally certified trainers through the National Council for Behavioral Health.
Studies have shown that one in five adults has a mental illness or substance use disorder. One in six children ages 2 to 8 has a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder. Approximately 1.9 million children ages three to 17 are diagnosed with depression.
“The impact to our future communities served and our own campus community will be invaluable in the strides of mental health awareness, advocacy and access,” Horne added.