Tarleton offers Mental Health First Aid certification

Kristen Bowman, Contributor

During the fall semester until November, free classes over Mental Health First Aid will be offered at Tarleton State University. The ultimate purpose of these classes is to help students learn warning signs, risk factors of mental illness and how to help connect others with the resources they may need.

James Dinh, Licensed Master Social Worker, professional counselor and Outreach Coordinator from the Student Counseling Center stated, “The goal is to be prepared to respond to mental health concerns similar to being able to respond to other health concerns with CPR and First Aid. With MHFA, you aren’t going to diagnose and treat like a therapist or psychiatrist, just like you wouldn’t be a doctor, nurse, or EMT with CPR or First Aid.”

The course is split up into four parts, each two hours long. The first part will define what Mental Health First Aid is, what problems are in the United States, action plans and understanding depression and anxiety disorder.

In the second part, the lectures will cover first aid for suicidal behavior, what non-suicidal self-injury is and the first aid for depression and anxiety.

The third part of the class will cover panic attacks, traumatic events and acute psychosis.

Finally, the fourth part will cover understanding substance abuse disorders, overdosing, withdrawal and how to use Mental Health First Aid.

Each of these classes takes roughly two hours to cover all of the topics. With all this information, students will receive a manual, which is also available in Spanish, and includes space for note taking.

Classes are offered on Tuesdays, Sept. 20, 27, Oct. 4 and 11 from 10 to 12 p.m. in Room 130 of the Barry B. Thompson Student Center. Classes are also offered on Wednesdays Oct. 5, 12, 19, and Nov. 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. One long class will also be held on Saturday Nov. 12 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an hour lunch break.

“Mental Health First Aid has the potential to change and improve lives and when you start looking into the news and success stories you realize that these classes save lives,” Dinh said. “Mental Health First Aid is spreading around the world and the United States has over 680,000 people trained by over 10,000 instructors. Texas has over 33,000 trained. This isn’t just a resume booster. It’s a movement that is making our world safer and better.”

All students, faculty, staff and community members are invited. This course, which was originally 12 hours, has been condensed into eight hours. Students must attend all eights hours to complete the certification.

If students are unable to attend the courses, there will be other opportunities in the Spring and Summer semesters. For more information on the courses please contact [email protected] or by phone at 254-968-9044.