Press Releases: Community Circles of Care Wins Mental Health First Aid Award
Contact: Communications@thenationalcouncil.org or 202.684.7457.
Washington, DC, May 12, 2011—Community Circles of Care in Dubuque, IA received the Mental Health First Aid USA Best Community Impact Award presented recently at the National Council Mental Health and Addictions Conference in San Diego. The organization was recognized for offering Mental Health First Aid training to more than 400 people in rural areas where individuals experiencing mental health crises do not have easy access to trained mental health professionals.
“It was incredible to see community partners, city leaders, and the families and youth we serve at Community Circle of Care all join together to educate others on the importance of Mental Health First Aid in our community,” said Jill Kluesner, a Mental Health First Aid instructor at Community Circles of Care, which also received $5,000 to support continued dissemination of the program. “In these rural areas it’s gratifying to see increased awareness and confidence, and greater mental health literacy and compassion in the community.”
Mental Health First Aid is the initial help given to a person showing symptoms of mental illness or in a mental health crisis until appropriate professional, peer or family support can be engaged. Since the program was introduced in the USA in 2008, more than 15,000 people have been trained and 1,200 instructors certified.
The other finalists considered for the Mental Health First Aid USA Best Community Impact Award were:
- The Bert Nash Center in Lawrence, KS trained more than 360 citizens in professions like law enforcement, health care, emergency management, city and county government, social service agencies and religious organizations.
- Community Counseling Centers of Chicago in Chicago, IL certified 560 individuals in more than 30 community trainings, including people working in shelters, schools, mutual aid associations, faith-based professions, health care, child care, youth agencies, senior services, housing developments, and other types of organizations.
- The Life Link in Santa Fe, NM trained more than 1,300 individuals in 30 counties and Native American Pueblos. Results of the statewide training included better recognition of mental health problems, changes in beliefs about mental illness, reduced stigma, and increased confidence in providing help to others.
“These outstanding organizations have created innovative ways to disseminate valuable Mental Health First Aid training in their communities,” says Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. “The training has helped reduce stigma and reinforce the notion that a mental illness, like a physical illness, is real, common and treatable.”
Criteria for award entries included organizational commitment, extent of reach, community impact and program sustainability.
Nominees were encouraged to create a short video describing the impact of the training on their community as part of their entry. Videos were voted on via Facebook to determine the finalists before a final vote determined the winner. In little over a week of voting, fans of the Mental Health First Aid USA’s Facebook page grew from 700 to 2,600.
Mental Health First Aid is the initial help given to a person showing symptoms of mental illness or in a mental health crisis until appropriate professional, peer or family support can be engaged. Mental Health First Aid USA is disseminated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. To find a training program in your community, visit www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org.