health issues prevalent in every community, how do you meet the needs quickly?
Fairview Health Services has offered the evidence-based Mental Health First Aid
program to teach community members how to help someone in a mental health
crisis, just as people would learn CPR to help when someone stopped breathing.
capacity in short order, Fairview trained multiple staff and community members
– 21 in all – to lead Mental Health First Aid courses within their communities
in a culturally appropriate way. As a result, attendees feel more comfortable
with talking about the topic and debunking the stigmas attached to mental
health within their own communities.
Fairview’s Somali trainers, that means talking about mental health in ways that
overcome language barriers. The Somali language doesn’t have a word that
directly translates into the concept of ‘mental health.
African-American trainers, it means sharing their own stories to overcome the
stigma that mental health issues are a result of selfishness or a lack of
trainers, it means explaining that mental health issues are not a result of
personal weakness or, for men, a lack of the cultural value of machismo.
in rural communities, it means showing others how they can locate care that can
be difficult to access and find the courage to seek treatment when they are
vulnerable to small town gossip.
young people, it means training individuals who work with youth how to identify
issues in adolescents and how to engage parents who may be hesitant to believe
that their child has mental health challenges.
In 2016 alone, 567 people were certified in
Mental Health First Aid USA, a program created and managed by the National
Council of Behavioral Health. Fairview conducted 28 classes in 2016 at a
monetary value of $160,978.80. Fairview community health staff run the program
with the help of 21 instructors, 13 of whom are Fairview staff in a variety of
roles throughout the organization. To date, Fairview has certified more than
1,700 people in Mental Health First Aid, with dozens more classes planned for