WASHINGTON – The National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the National Association of Counties (NACo) today announced a new partnership to make Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training available to county employees across the country. MHFA at Work is a skills-based training that teaches participants to identify, understand, and respond to mental health and substance use challenges their colleagues and others may be facing.
While one in five adults in the U.S. report living with a mental health challenge, only 10 percent of employees feel their workplace is free of stigmas about mental health. With counties employing 3.6 million individuals, or 1 percent of the U.S. population, MHFA at Work will help county employees assist during a crisis or until professional treatment is obtained.
“Most of us know how to help if we see someone having a medical emergency — for example, we’d start CPR, or at the very least, call 911. But too few know how to respond if we see someone having a panic attack or if we are concerned that a family member, friend or coworker might be showing signs of mental health and substance use challenges,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “Mental Health First Aid training will provide county employees with tools to intervene appropriately in a mental health crisis.”
“NACo’s expansive reach paired with the National Council’s evidence-based Mental Health First Aid trainings will increase access to critical mental health and substance use education and treatment in all corners of the nation,” said Chuck Ingoglia, President & CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. “So many people are struggling right now, and we have the ability to ensure mental wellbeing and recovery is a reality for everyone, starting with the backbone of local government and programming – county employees.”
An enterprise-level approach to mental health awareness and training aims to improve early recognition and encourage help-seeking, enhancing utilization of timely, appropriate support, and perhaps limiting the impact mental health issues can have on the work environment. Many county and local governments have used MHFA at Work to build cultures of caring and resilience.
This new partnership will support elected officials and county staff with their own mental health and wellbeing, as well as create a framework to destigmatize mental health and substance use challenges. Learn more at www.NACo.org/MHFA.Standard