The Somerset Hills YMCA will in late July and this fall again offer its mental health "first aid" training, part of a program for addressing the community's mental health needs that recently earned the organization recognition from the Mental Health Association in New Jersey.
The first classes will begin on July 31 at the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church in the Liberty Corner section of the township, and will run for four weeks.
The second offering of the 12-hour certification program, costing $75 and offering continuing education credits, will be held during two full days in October at the YMCA's main facility at 140 Mount Airy Road in Basking Ridge.
For professionals and general public both
"This workshop is appropriate for both professionals as well as non-professionals," Susan Visser, coordinator of the YMCA's Healthy Outcomes Partnership program. "It is really is geared toward people with little or no knowlege of mental illness."
Visser added the program is at the same time designed to provide information for people who with various segments of the community in a more professional capacity, including teachers, clergy, counselors, law enforcement professionals, business owners and others.
The Mental Health Association in New Jersey recently honored the Somerset Hills YMCA for its programs at the organization's Evening of Excellence benefit held on June 19. The local YMCA has offered mental health programs on an ongoing basis since the late 2000s.
“Our heartfelt appreciation is extended to our honorees for the Mental Health Association in New Jersey’s 2012 Evening of Excellence. The Somerset Hills YMCA was selected on the basis of its exemplary commitment and accomplishments in improving the lives of those with mental illness,” Carolyn Beauchamp, President and CEO of the Mental Health Association in New Jersey, reportedly said during the evening.
The Somerset Hills YMCA received the Golden Bell Leadership Award for its Healthy Outcomes Partnership (HOP) program, run through a coalition of agencies, organizations and individuals concerned with public, mental health and related issues.
HOP was formed to help people connect with the resources they need to overcome these problems at a time when the community had experienced several tragedies involving mental health crisis, including the death of an eighth grader in a situation involving his mother, later ruled to be suffering from mental illness.
That death led the boy's father, William Kimzy, to approach the YMCA with a goal of establishing community education on the subject. His efforts led to the creation of HOP, a joint initiative by the YMCA initiative and representatives of about 25 to 30 different agencies, churches and members of the community at large. The volunteers focus on educating the public about mental health, according to the YMCA.
Understanding the importance of mental health, the YMCA began offering Mental Health First Aid training to its leadership, staff, members and the community at large.
The program has emerged as a leader of innovation in linking physical to mental health among the YMCAs in the state, according to information from the Somerset Hills YMCA. It also has shone light on the subject of mental health beacon for the Somerset Hills YMCA’s 20,000 members and the surrounding community, according to information from the YMCA.
The idea behind behind the Mental Health First Aid program is no different than that of traditional first aid, Visser said, "to create an environment where people know how to help someone in emergency situations."
"But instead of learning how to give CPR or how to treat a broken bone; the 12-hour course teaches ordinary people how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and how to provide initial aid before guiding a person toward appropriate professional help," Visser added.
The YMCA's certification course consists of an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness including depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and substance use disorders. Participants will learn risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, build an understanding of their impact, and gain knowledge of common treatments, according to information from the YMCA.
Participants will also learn a 5-step action plan to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care, according to a news release from the YMCA.
The cost of the training course is $75 and continuing education credits for Human Resource professionals are available.
To register, please contact Susan Visser via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a registration form.
The former must be completed and along with a check for $75 brought to the Welcome Center at the YMCA or mail them to: Sue Visser, Somerset Hills YMCA, 140 Mount Airy Road in Basking Ridge, 07920.
Course schedule options are as follows:
July/ Aug 2012 Course; Tuesdays, July 31, Aug. 7, 14 and 21 from 5:45 to 8:45 p.m. at the Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church, 45 Church St. in Liberty Corner. Participants are asked to bring a bagged dinner, although water and desserts will be provided.
October 2012 Course; Tuesdays, Oct. 16 and 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Somerset Hills YMCA, at 140 Mount Airy Road in Basking Ridge. Lunch will be provided.