I am a person in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders. For many years, I carried a good deal of anger and resentment so, instead of addressing my issues, I turned to using drugs. Unlike many others, my addiction began in prison. It happened at one of the lowest times in my life, when I lost my father. Here I was, incarcerated and drugs were available, so I turned to the one thing that I always tried to avoid. In trying to mask my pain there were times I didn’t want to live. Depression was evident, but I camouflaged it with drugs. I was overdosing and only through the grace of God was revived every time by someone in my community. Naloxone was constantly used to save my life. I was arrested so many times that I started to begin to believe that incarceration was going to be my life. It was my reality, a cycle of incarceration and release, only to sell drugs again to support my addiction. My light came on when I was sitting in a jail cell and decided that I no longer wanted to use drugs. I started to realize that I needed help to address my mental state. During my therapy sessions, I was told that I was holding on to a [...]
What if you had the chance to help someone feel less alone in the world? What if you could help reframe how the world responds to someone’s silent pain?
Over the years, Philadelphia has implemented a number of approaches to strengthen local communities. In particular, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) has implemented multiple programs that reach our neighborhoods— some examples include Mental Health First Aid, Faith and Spiritual Affairs, and Healing Hurt People.
Adult Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches community members how to assist an adult who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. MHFA teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and substance use challenges. Upon completion of the training, participants receive a comprehensive Mental Health First Aid manual along with a three (3) year national MHFA certification. The Adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addiction. NOTE: This is the second of a two-part training series. Attendance at both sessions is required to receive your three-year national certification.