In an effort to better help those experiencing a mental health crisis, and to better recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness, Housatonic Community College is offering a new one-day class: Mental Health First Aid. The course is offered to first responders, including EMS, firefighter and law enforcement personnel, and begins next month.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that one in five U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, yet the symptoms of mental illness can be difficult to detect. For first responders, knowing the warning signs can lead to better treatment decisions.
Additionally, first responders themselves are at a higher risk of mental illness due to the challenging and sometimes dangerous nature of their job. Their responsibilities can be emotionally draining, and over time, can put them at an increased risk of trauma.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, it is estimated that 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, as compared with 20 percent in the general population.
“First responders who complete mental health first aid training are better equipped to serve those in the pubic who battle mental illness,” said Dawn M. Roy, LCSW, who will teach the class. “More importantly, they will learn how to support their peers when one of their own is struggling.”
Additionally, beginning on January 1, 2020, the state of Connecticut will require any person applying for initial certification as an emergency medical responder, EMT, advanced emergency medical technician or initial licensure as a paramedic to complete mental health first aid training.
The Mental Health First Aid course for Law Enforcement will take place on January 7, 2020. The one-day, 8-hour professional development course is taught to help law enforcement, first responders, corrections officers, 911 dispatch staff, and other public safety professionals better understand mental illnesses and addictions. In addition, it provides training that helps to deescalate incidents so they can respond to mental health related calls appropriately without compromising safety.
The Mental Health First Aid course for EMS & Firefighters will take place on January 14, 2020. The one-day, 8-hour class is taught to help EMS and Firefighters understand mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Discussion of first responder culture and outreach tactics to respond to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis will be discussed.
Both classes take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm at Beacon Hall Event Center on the HCC campus, located at 900 Lafayette Blvd, Bridgeport, CT. Textbooks and lunch are included in the tuition cost of $105.00. To register, visit http://bit.ly/HCCMentalHealthFirstAid to download a registration form. For questions, contact or call 203-332-5057.
Caption: Housatonic Community College will offer a new Mental Health First Aid Course for first responders and law-enforcement personnel beginning in January. Registration is going on now.