Carl D. Perkins Job Corps Staff certify as Mental Health First Aid Trainers
BY: Tiffany Fannin, BCL, CDPJCC
During the month of September, 92 Carl D. Perkins Job Corps (CDPJCC) Staff increased their Mental Health Awareness by earning an 8-hour Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Certification.
One staff member, Sara Maynard expresses “It really hit home for me and I understand more about the importance of Mental Health First Aid. My brother in law was diagnosed with psychosis from substance abuse. Due to his illness I didn’t really have a relationship with him, because before the training I did not understand what was actually going on in his mind. I was scared of him. With this training, I understand more about his diagnosis now. What his mind is doing to him, and I know more about how he thinks. This will help our relationship. I’m thankful for this training. It was very beneficial for me to not only be prepared to help our students if needed, but in my personal life as well.”
Utilizing the MHFA training ACTION PLAN ALGEE method (Assessing risk of suicide/harm, Listening non-judgmentally, Giving reassurance, Encouraging appropriate professional help, Encouraging self-help, and offering other resource strategies) Perkins Staff are able to offer a first line of support to students, peers, and even in their personal life as in Mrs. Maynard’s case.
Perkins staff were trained to identify and respond to signs and symptoms of depression, Bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, psychosis, schizophrenia, eating disorders and substance use disorders. All Perkins staff participate in training on different topics on a routine monthly basis; as safety and security is our #1 priority. Preparation and regular training enable us to ensure that we are fully resourced and equipped to respond to any situation. In the current climate of the SARS Covid-19 National Pandemic we are faced with widespread emotional distress and increased risk for psychiatric illness due to dramatic changes in the economy (Rapid increases in unemployment, closures of businesses, missed educational opportunities and educational regression, lack of technology and access to internet connections, the consequences of social distancing and isolation, rises in overdoses, and domestic violence disputes) the Perkins team vigilantly equips themselves with the most up to date training’s and resources available to fulfill the mission to educate youth
and train them for higher education and meaningful careers.
Pictured from left to right above is Perkins Job Corps Business Community Liaison, Tiffany Fannin and the Mountain Region Prevention Center’s (MRPC) Mental Health First Aid Coordinator/Prevention Specialists Jennifer Lawson and Community Collaboration Specialist Maria Reynolds.