Mental Health First Aid: BV school district staff to receive training through grant

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

By Haley Schichtl

The Berryville School District has received a $10,000 grant from the Arkansas AWARE Advancement Mini-Grant Project to give Mental Health First Aid training to its staff.

The course is designed to help staff identify the signs of someone who is struggling with mental health problems and help them reach out to get counseling or whatever resource they might need. The grant will help pay for the eight-hour course for 90 staff members.

Mental Health First Aid is a program through the National Council for Behavioral Health, which tries to remove the stigma about mental health to get people comfortable enough to start a conversation about it. The program believes that training on mental health is just as important as CPR training.

Middle school counselor Judy Patterson applied for the grant through the Arkansas Department of Education.

“I have been a school counselor and an educator for over 30 years, and in the past two years I have seen more students with mental health issues than I have in the entire 30 years I have been doing this,” Patterson said. “It is definitely something that teachers need training on so that they can recognize the signs of mental health illnesses.”

Patterson said she and some other staff members will attend the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health from Nov. 6-9 in Austin, Texas. The trainings for the other staff will be Nov. 18, Jan. 6 and March 20.

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