Mental Health First Aid

Last spring, the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn completed a three- year study of the delivery of mental health services in DuPage County. What became clear as a result of this study is a need for education. One of the greatest blocks to accessing mental health care is stigma, inaccurate beliefs about mental illness. In an effort to reduce stigma, the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn is offering a unique opportunity for our community. We will be sponsoring a training program called Mental Health First Aid.

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by national authorities including the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and in DuPage County is sponsored by Linden Oaks Hospital.

Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 8-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and outlines common treatments. Those who take the 8-hour course become certified as Mental Health First Aiders and learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge needed to help an individual in crisis to connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

Mental Health First Aid has a strong evidence base. Studies have found that those who are trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes.

To date, Mental Health First Aid has been replicated in 19 countries. In the next decade, we expect Mental Health First Aid in the US will become as common as CPR and First Aid.

The program will be offered over two days, four hours each day on February 15 and on February 22 from 8am to 12pm.There is a small fee to cover the cost of the materials. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Lois Walter at 630-790-1569 or Mary Lou Lowry at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or for more information go to www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org .

We hope you will join us in this community effort. An informed, well-educated community will not only benefit those with mental illness but our entire community. We look forward to making a difference in our community with your participation.