Student Counseling Center to Host Mental Health First Aid Training


Laren Walters/ The JTAC

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Physical first aid training is known as a valuable lesson for everyday life; however, one set of first aid training that is often overshadowed is mental health first aid. Mental health first aid training is designed to train people to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns in order to get an individual the help they need. This worldwide training started in Australia in 2003 and eventually made it to the United States in 2008. Tarleton State University partners with Pecan Valley Centers and Tarrant County My Health My Resources (MHMR) in order to provide mental health first aid training to students, faculty and staff.

“Mental health awareness is a significant problem because people aren’t aware of what it is or what the signs are,” Graduate assistant for Student Counseling Services Kourtney Smith said, “There is a lot of stigma associated with mental health, and it is important to educate as many people as possible about mental health so they can help someone who is having problems.” Statistics from the Student Counseling Services show that 41 percent of people who need mental health help don’t feel comfortable enough to reach out.“The more people on campus that can be educated about mental health, the more likely students who are struggling will reach out for help,” says Smith. “We want this campus to be a safe place for students to express their concerns.”

Student Counseling Services shares adamantly that an individual does not have to suffer from mental illness in order to seek counseling. Smith’s suggests that students struggling with mental health, especially with the stress of school, first and foremost seek counseling. All fees are already covered. There are also student counseling interns inside every residence hall at certain times each week. Smith also suggests finding coping strategies to combat stress, to practice self-care, utilize coloring books, read, listen to music, create, grow friendships, or do anything to get yourself out of your room.

“Mental health affects a much larger population. It affects a person’s ability to carry out daily activities and engage in relationships. It also affects a person’s thinking process, as well as work, school and family life,” says Smith. “A lot of people don’t know what mental health is, or they see it as an invisible illness. Student counseling makes people aware of mental illness. We want students to reach out at this campus. If people on campus don’t know what mental health is, they’re not going to voice their concerns.”

Student Counseling Services shares a lot of information about mental health on their social media pages. In order for students to raise awareness for mental health, Smith suggests following and sharing information from Student Counseling Service’s social media pages, getting involved in events and being open to talk about and support mental health. Information about Mental Health First Aid can be found on Tarleton’s website on the Student Counseling Services page.