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Helping people has always been a passion of mine. Since I was a child, I knew I wanted to begin a career that would allow me to help others to some capacity. Now that I’m older, I’ve come to decide that I want to help individuals who experience mental health and substance use challenges. More specifically, I want to become a clinical psychologist. Mental health and substance use are topics that hit close to home for me, and while people don’t want to admit it, there is still a huge stigma surrounding these. 

So, in order to prepare for my potential career path, I decided to partake in an online Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training program on April 21st. For those of you who don’t know, MHFA is a “skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues” (via the program’s official website). MHFA’s goals are to teach individuals how to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis, and to end the stigma surrounding mental health and substance use.

With how common mental health issues are around the world, MHFA wants to train as many people as they can so that individuals experiencing mental health challenges are more likely to get the support they need. It is important to note, however, that mental health first aiders do not diagnose or treat those with a mental health or substance use challenge; instead, they offer the individual a shoulder to lean on and refer them to professional resources if needed. People taking part in the MHFA program won’t walk out as professionals, but they will walk out with the necessary skills needed to help those experiencing a challenge or crisis. 

I decided to partake in the MHFA training program because it would provide me with the skills needed to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. Before I took part in the instructor-led portion of the course, I thought I knew everything I needed in order to help someone. It turns out, however, that I did not. I learned a lot from the eight hour training; while this timeframe may sound daunting at first, the minutes fly by as you learn all there is to helping someone going through a mental health challenge or crisis. 

The instructors are incredibly helpful and the information is presented in a clear, concise format. During the MHFA training, you’ll learn about mental health disorders such as anxiety, schizophrenia and depression, and you’ll be exposed to scenarios in which you’d apply the appropriate steps to helping someone experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. Once you finish the training, you’ll walk out feeling confident in your ability to help someone experiencing either of these. I know I did. 

If you’re someone who plans to work in a field related to mental health or substance use, or you simply want to learn how to help someone experiencing a challenge or crisis, I’d definitely recommend you partake the MHFA training program. In order to sign up, just visit the University of Kentucky’s Campus Recreation and Wellness page at https://www.uky.edu/recwell/wellness/mental-health-first-aid

Jordyn is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in Psychology and minoring in Journalism Studies. She loves writing fiction stories, but enjoys partaking in a bit of non-fiction writing, too. In the future, she hopes to either become a clinical psychologist or an author.
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