So we have completed the trials for the new fully virtual and the new blended (part online and part in the class) Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) and YOUTH Mental Health First Aid certification courses. In July, all instructors were invited to take the training, and the new programs were rolled out. Not all of the instructors want to teach the virtual and blended classes, but many have taken the training and are trying it out.
It seems to be slow to be implemented, and the National Council is still working out some bugs with the digital parts of the new system, but we are FINALLY teaching the new MHFA and YOUTH MHFA courses using the internet options. So far, my participants have really indicated that they really enjoy the classes. That makes me happy. One participant said, “Pam, I really needed this training, but my anxiety about getting out in public with COVID-19 was stopping me from doing anything. This has relieved my anxiety, tremendously.” I think many of us can relate!
What I really like about the digital format is that I can have people from all over the USA, from all walks of life, from any culture or background, and from any perspective with any needs all come together to discuss how to help others who may be dealing with mental health challenges. I had a class, last week which included really phenomenal women. Two were college students looking forward to careers in medical and psychological sciences careers, 2 who do community outreach, one who is the founder of a women’s empowerment outreach program, an EMT, a software engineer, and a musician. Mental health and the desire to help others brought them together.
The next step is bringing out the new in-person course. The National Council for Behavioral Health announced, earlier this year, that all instructors would have to be trained to teach it by the end of October in order to remain instructors, so I am guessing that it should be ready to be rolled out very soon. They have updated EVERYTHING! Of course, ALGEE is the same, but the look and design of the program and manuals has changed (and been updated), the course has been reformatted and updated, we have new videos, artwork, activities, and more. The things that were most asked for in the participant evaluations, like talking about the effects trauma, culture, and ACEs have been integrated into the course, and it has been put more in line with the current version of the DSM with updated information and statistics (the ones that are available, that is).
For those of you already certified in the past: I think you are going to like the new Mental Health First Aid. For those of you who have yet to certify: You are in for a treat!. This is a great course, and has been shown to save lives, and at the very least be beneficial for those who do not know a lot about mental health. Interested in a fully virtual certification course? Email us or give us a call to get information!