Every day we hear more and more about the importance of using different types of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and demonstrating behaviors that help protect us from COVID-19. During these unprecedented and most uncertain times that we are living in, we are told to cover our mouths and noses with face masks or shields, wash our hands often, use hand sanitizer, and comply with social distancing protocols to keep 6 feet apart to maintain our health as well as to protect the health of others. However, there is another tool with which we need to equip ourselves: Mental Health First Aid® (MHFA) 2.0 virtual training. Virtual MHFA is a national certification course that provides the basic knowledge and practical skills that help to either alleviate or shield us from signs and symptoms of behavioral health or substance use challenges. Its primary goal is to help individuals increase their competence and confidence in identifying, recognizing, and responding appropriately to someone in distress. First Aiders learn to support an individual until appropriate professional help arrives or until the crisis is resolved. In this pandemic, many of us are struggling with the thought of social distancing from family, friends, and loved ones. Whereas social distancing is necessary to decrease the rate of transmission of the coronavirus, Mental Health First Aid® seeks to decrease [...]
Do you know someone who has a lived mental health experience and would be an excellent candidate for the Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) profession? For the latest application window for the Certified Peer Specialist Training Program, check this page. In addition, all applicants must attend a Story-Telling training in order to apply for the CPS training. See our calendar for upcoming training dates. Story Telling Training is a FREE resilience and recovery-oriented training recognizing that the stories of individuals, their recovery processes and the experiences of their family members are critical tools in moving system transformation forward. Story Telling Training offers many helpful tools for sharing personal and challenging experiences in an inspiring, resilience and recovery-oriented way. Story Telling Training is a gateway for those who want to become active stakeholders and change agents throughout the behavioral health system and in their communities at large.
By Jeff Shair, Mental Health Advocate My brother Paul was diagnosed with schizophrenia, like myself. Yet because Paul was 10 years older than me, the illness was viewed quite differently when his symptoms first appeared. That was back in the early 1960’s. In those days, some psychiatrists believed that the disease was caused by the individual having a weak will. For instance, when my parents took me to Paul’s psychiatrist at 9-years-old, a time during which I was struggling emotionally, they asked the doctor in front of me “Will Jeff get sick like Paul?” The doctor replied by saying, “Jeff is too strong to get sick.” Nevertheless, I did develop schizophrenia and was diagnosed with the serious mental illness at the age of 17. At the onset of Paul’s disorder there was no knowledge that schizophrenia was linked to a specific gene and that it could materialize through a heredity component. Furthermore, there was little hope for the person with the mental illness, and recovery was considered to be out of the question. As a child I looked up to Paul. I wanted to be with him as much as possible. When I was 6 years-old, I was very excited when Paul introduced me to sports. He taught me all the ins and outs of baseball, football, and basketball. We [...]
Philadelphia’s Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) program has certified over 5,500 since its inception in Jan. 2012