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Mental Health First Aid: Free Trainings Across Arkansas

Free training to help you see the signs and act fast

  • Is your co-worker struggling with thoughts of suicide?
  • Can you tell if your neighbor is depressed, anxious or seriously stressed?
  • Could your best friend be fighting substance use?

With proper training, you might be able to spot the signs of mental distress in those around you and lend them a helping hand. You could even save a life.

One in five Americans live with a mental illness and more than 120 die by suicide every day. To save lives and improve the well-being of Arkansas communities, Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield is offering Take Good Care: Mental Health First Aid.

Throughout 2023, dozens of mental health first aid classes will be offered throughout the state, free of charge. The training is open to all Arkansans. Classes will be taught by instructors with the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership. Certification will be provided through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

“For years, we have been committed to addressing behavioral health needs and normalizing the conversation around mental health in Arkansas,” said Arkansas Blue Cross President and Chief Executive Officer Curtis Barnett. “As we enter our 75th year of serving Arkansans, we have a goal of providing this important training to at least 750 people statewide. We believe knowing mental health first aid is as important as knowing CPR and can save lives.”

What it covers

  • Common signs and symptoms of mental health challenges
  • Common signs and symptoms of substance use challenges
  • How to interact with a person in crisis
  • How to connect a person with help
  • Expanded content on trauma, substance use and self-care

“The availability of Mental Health First Aid training through this initiative will address the immediate need to equip a large number of individuals to recognize the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and provide early intervention,” said Mellie Bridewell, president and founder of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership. “Individuals completing this training can act as ‘gatekeepers’ in their communities to assist those needing mental health intervention. The more of these gatekeepers we have in place, the healthier our communities can become and the more lives we can save.”

Who needs to know Mental Health First Aid

  • Employers
  • Police officers
  • Hospital staff
  • First responders
  • Teachers
  • Caring individuals

Participants seeking certification will complete two hours of online pre-work, followed by a six-hour, in-person class. Lunch will be provided. We know it’s an investment, but well worth your time. Classes will be offered each month through September in Little Rock, Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Texarkana, Jonesboro, Fayetteville, Rogers and Fort Smith. More classes will be added in the coming weeks in additional communities. To find a schedule of classes and complete the free online registration.

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