December 14, 2021

Crisis Averted: Why Mental Health Awareness Training Matters

The stigma surrounding mental illness still exists, making it hard for people, particularly children, to open up about their emotions and what they need. When too few people talk about the realities of mental health, we as a society will also lack the knowledge we need to recognize and safely handle moments of mental crisis.

These crises, where people risk hurting themselves or others, can happen anywhere, including school and the workplace.  

The Benefits of Mental Health Awareness Training

Mental health awareness training helps reduce the stigma of mental illness by increasing awareness and normalizing conversations on mental health. It also deepens the understanding of the impacts of mental illness on the person and their families.

Through mental health training, people from all walks of life—teachers, law enforcement officers, paramedics, pastors, youth leaders, even passersby—can learn to recognize the early signs and risk factors and the methods to safely reach out to someone in crisis.

When executed well, mental health awareness training helps concerned individuals recognize warning signs for mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD and even cyberbullying. This invaluable training may also involve suicide intervention, prevention and first aid training for trauma or crisis.

Addressing the Need for Mental Health Services

The global pandemic created a chaotic mental, physical and emotional environment with increased feelings of isolation, fears of unemployment and concerns over health and mortality. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of adults with a history of symptoms related to anxiety and depression increased to 41.5 percent between August 2020 and February 2021. This surge has been linked to pandemic-related fear and grief, social restrictions and economic downturn.

Recognizing the increase in anxiety and depressive disorder symptoms and increased substance use during these troubling times, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) promotes the importance of mental health awareness training by awarding grants to community behavioral centers like Communicare.

Our training educates and trains individuals on recognizing signs and symptoms of mental disorders and emotional disturbances to provide people in need with appropriate care and support. It’s literally lifesaving: Participants learn critical de-escalation techniques and are properly prepared to respond to someone with a severe mental or substance abuse issue; in this way, they can interact with that person safely and appropriately, lowering the risk of harm not only to the person in crisis but also to those around them and the first responders. It can also divert people from the criminal justice system and get them to care they need.

Mental health awareness training is beneficial to people in many sectors and professions, including:

● Emergency first responders

● Armed services members

● School personnel

● Local education agencies

● Medical units

● Community-based organizations

● Law enforcement

● Veterans

However, mental health awareness isn’t reserved solely for sectors most likely to encounter a mental health crisis. Everyone can benefit from mental health awareness training that equips them with the basic understanding and skills to assist those in need: Employers, managers and frontline workers with mental health awareness training can help protect their team members, employees and even clients and customers. This type of training may also help increase your self-awareness of your own mental health.  

Communicare is proud to provide training to first responders and other partners in the community. If your group (church group, civic group, sorority, fraternity, school group, club, office, etc.) would like to learn more about the trainings we provide on various mental health topics, click here.

If you have an emergency, please call 911, go to your nearest emergency room or call 1-866-837-7521 to be connected to Communicare’s mobile crisis team, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.