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Mental Health First Aid Training Aims to Add Certified Trainers

By Mallory Peebles, Crime and Law Enforcement, Natural Resources and Parks Reporter, Fill-in Anchor, mpeebles@ktuu.com
Published On: Nov 04 2013 07:52:32 PM AKST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 07:29:51 AM AKST

(KTUU-TV, 11-4-13)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

As of early November, there are five people trained to teach others about mental health first aid. In five days, the number could be in the double digits as people across the state have traveled to Anchorage to become certified mental health first aid trainers.

"I feel like mental health first aid is important in any state but it's particularly important here," said Jill Ramsey with the Trust Training Cooperative. 

Alaska had the second highest rate of suicide in the nation in 2010 according to the State of Alaska's Epidemiology Section. 

According to the Trust Training Cooperative, 29 people representing different parts of the state are participating in a program to become certified mental health first aid trainers.

"The premise of the training is learning to recognize when there's a mental health crisis and then knowing what to do and maybe in some cases what not to do," said Ramsey.

A duo of trainers with the National Council for Behavioral Health is teaching the five-day course. They were brought up from the Lower 48 with funding from the Alaska Primary Care Association, Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority and Trust Training Cooperative.

Graduates from the course will go on to teach others how to identify mental health issues and how to help someone find help. The course is not open to the public.