Mental Health First Aid News

Things are progressing at the National Council for Behavioral Health, and Mental Health First Aid will be announcing some exciting new programs, later in 2020. This is exciting stuff!

The first exciting thing is that the testing of the new Teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA), a teen peer support program designed to give students some information and skills to help their friends who may be suffering from mental health issues, is in its completion stages, and I think they will be rolling out the new program within a year or so. This is exciting, because teens are more likely to talk with their friends than an adult, so we can identify and get these kids help much earlier than before. Early intervention is key to successful outcomes, so this is great news!

We also have gotten word that there will probably be a choice of an alternative course format for Mental Health First Aid in the future! The new format will require that participants do several hours of coursework on their own before coming to class. Then, at class, we support the information with addition information and exercises to support ALGEE. This will enable us to cut down the time for class to about half a day, instead of the whole day class. Since it will take some time to train instructors, but word is that this is a result of so many people asking for a shorter class.

Finally, a new early childhood version of Youth Mental Health First Aid is rumored to be on its way out of testing, very soon. You asked for YMHFA for younger kids than adolescents for those of you who need information for younger children. The National Council is always listening, and they value your comments and suggestions in course evaluations! Thanks to you, we will be able to help more and more people get the help they need and save even more lives.

We were able to travel to Ferris State University’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, last week, to train and certify 25 faculty and staff members in Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education (adult certification). By far, this was one of my favorite seminars because of the warm, caring people we met. The following photos are team photos from our class.

The Higher Education version of Mental Health First Aid was uniquely created for people who work with college students and for college students.

We talked about how the culture of college life is unique.

We also discussed the special risk factors and needs of students & faculty.

The main goal is to be able to recognize and address the special mental health concerns and needs of the students and faculty members, and to move students toward finding professional help when they may need to.

The Ferris State community was fantastic, and we want to thank them for their hospitality and care for all of their students. Their students are lucky to have them! Go Bulldogs!

EWC booth
LEA Faculty Affinity
Group 4

The Leadership Education Academy is a yearly professional development conference specially made for people who teach in leadership programs. Areas of special interest at the 2019 conference were leadership theories, content, pedagogy and andragogy, and exploring ideas for classroom use. Accomplished facilitators lead the way with fantastic information and brought out the ideas of 72 participants through table talks and networking events. Everyone learned from each other.

When at the LEA, each person is placed into an “affinity” group. In other words, the coordinators of the event separate participants into groups in which the participants have something in common. For example, there were three groups of higher education faculty, groups of people who work in student affairs and campus climate careers, and groups of professional and business leadership trainers. This enables the people in each group to discuss strategies and share innovative ideas for learning, as well as get to know others who might cross their path in a different capacity in the future. I heard people who had just met start talking about potentially working together on research projects and workshop coordination.

The opportunities for networking were plentiful, and participants and facilitators got to find time to talk about ideas, get advice, and learn new teaching and learning strategies. In addition to net working time during the day, there was a networking event after early registration, and each evening, participants had the opportunity to go to dinner at restaurants in Denver with one of the facilitators. In addition, networking continually occurred during games and discussion, as well as within the affinity group’s projects.

The facilitators were excellent. Each had a field of expertise and knowledge which created great value during educational periods at the conference. Each affinity group was assigned a facilitator to assist with the program and learning at the conference, so there was ample opportunity for each participant to get to know at least one of the facilitators in many ways. Since I did not get the permission of any of the facilitators to use their name in print, I won’t be mentioning their names, but if you are interested in next years LEA, you will be able to see the website for the next conference soon.

I highly recommend the Leadership Education Academy (LEA) to people who teach leadership studies or skills to groups of people. It doesn’t matter if it is in the classroom or in the wild. We need great leaders to make progress and encourage good in our world. Check out LEA for your future.

Note: LEA is sponsored by the International Leadership Association (ILA).

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