C4 Trains 3,000 People in Mental Health First Aid

C4 Trains 3,000 People in Mental Health First Aid

C4 has trained more than 3,000 people in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) since the MHFA course was first introduced to the Chicagoland area by C4 in 2008!

More than 3,000 people from 500 organizations have taken this eight-hour MHFA course, which is modeled after traditional First Aid and CPR classes. MHFA was developed to help members of the community support individuals who are developing mental health problems or experiencing mental health crisis. The training helps people identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

“This is a significant milestone for C4. We have equipped 3,000 people with the knowledge and skills necessary to help individuals in need of mental health assistance. Mental Health First Aid is a critical tool in addressing mental health concerns at the community level,” said Eileen Durkin, C4 president and CEO.
One in five people will experience a mental health problem this year. Studies of the MHFA course have shown that it increases participants’ understanding of mental health issues and treatments, connects people with appropriate care, and reduces the stigma of mental illness.

During C4’s MHFA training, offered in English and Spanish, participants learn potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, trauma, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self- injury behavior. C4 provides participants with a five-step action plan to teach them how to respond in a mental health emergency and to offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional distress.
The five-step action plan includes:

•    Assess for risk of suicide or harm
•    Listen nonjudgmentally
•    Give reassurance and information
•    Encourage appropriate professional help
•    Encourage self-help and other support strategies

C4 has expanded its MHFA program to include a youth curriculum designed for those who work with young adults. Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) provides information on social, emotional, and behavioral health challenges and disorders. The course is designed to give those working or interacting with young people ages 12–25 a means to identify mental health problems, connect youth with appropriate care, and safely deescalate crisis situations. It is particularly helpful to young adults, such as college students, dealing with transition to adulthood.

Participants of the MHFA training course come from a variety of backgrounds and professions, including health care, school personal, law enforcement, first responders, social workers, community organizations and concerned citizens. This course is for anyone who wants to learn more about mental health. C4 offers eight hours of Continuing Education credits for many professions including social workers, counselors, family therapists, educators, nurses and more.
MHFA trainings for individuals and groups are held regularly at C4. There are also trainings offered on-site at organizations with groups of 20-30 participants. To register for an upcoming training or to learn more about MHFA, go to www.c4chicago.org/mhfa or call 773-765-0814.

About Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4)
Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) is a leading community mental health agency in Illinois providing mental health services, crisis intervention and substance use treatment to more than 10,000 at-risk children, adults and families each year.
For more information, visit www.c4chicago.org