Doña Ana County’s Health and Human Services Department is looking for 25 county residents to be trained as volunteer Mental Health First Aid Instructors. Instructor training will be held for five full days, July 18-22, 2011.
Individuals selected to participate in this free training must be at least 18 years old, have demonstrable experience and/or interest with mental illness either as a professional, caregiver or family member, must commit to attend the full five days of training, must be able to teach others based on the identified curriculum, and must commit to facilitating at least three Mental Health First Aid trainings within Doña Ana County before July 1, 2012. Above all, they must have a passion for helping in their community. Doña Ana County’s Health and Human Service Department staff will help coordinate the trainings.
Mental Health First Aid is a 12-hours training course designed to give volunteers the public key skills they need to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The program is modeled after CPR, in which non-medical professionals are trained to provide appropriate, life-saving intervention until professional help arrives.
Upon completion of the training phase, each of the 25 newly certified instructors will subsequently offer Mental Health First Aid training to hundreds of non-mental-health professional county residents to help them recognize and safely respond to individuals experiencing severe mental health crises such as contemplation of suicide.
The program is being offered through a grant to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE). The two-year grant will lay the groundwork for addressing long-term capacity building for services to the mentally ill, and for de-stigmatizing those experiencing mental illness.
Doña Ana County’s Health and Human Service is conducting extensive recruitment efforts through many community organizations and programs to identify the 25 most qualified instructor trainees. All interested individuals who meet the above criteria are invited and encouraged to apply. For more information and an application, contact Laura Henry, Alliance Facilitator, Doña Ana County Health and Human Services Department, 845 N. Motel Blvd. Las Cruces, N.M., 88007, or call (575) 525-5834 or send an e-mail at LauraH@donanacounty.org. Applications also are available on-line at www.donaanacounty.org. A voluntary pre-application conference will be held Wednesday, May 4, 2011, at 5 p.m. to answer more question and hand out applications.
The application deadline is May 20, 2011 and applicants will be notified of the results by June 6, 2011.
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Reporters seeking more information or interviews: may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (575) 525-5801.