Mental Health First Aid Training in River Falls

Part of National Initiative to Increase Mental Health Literacy

On Monday, April 9, United Way of St. Croix Valley will be offering Mental Health First Aid training at the River Falls School District Office from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. This groundbreaking eight-hour training course gives people the tools to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.

One in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.

Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems,” says Linda Rosenberg President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, which helped bring Mental Health First Aid to the U.S. in 2008. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they may need.”

As a primary care practitioner at Vibrant Health Family Clinics, Brittney Matheson, PA-C has a special interest in mental health and is Mental Health First Aid instructor.  She states that the class is an internationally recognized evidence-based program that was created and is managed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. It is an eight-hour class that helps participants identify, understand, and respond to signs of addiction and mental illnesses. Participants will learn by engaging in the materials and relating what you learn to real-life situations. Role-playing, group discussions, and exercises keep you engaged and allow you to practice helping skills.


Why Take Mental Health First Aid?

  1. To be prepared: Just as you learn CPR, learn how to help in a mental health crisis
  2. Mental illnesses are common: 1 in 5 adults in any given year
  3. You care: be there for a friend, family member, or colleague
  4. You can help: people with mental illnesses often suffer alone


Skills Learned in Mental Health First Aid

In the Mental Health First Aid training, you will learn:

  • Risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns
  • Strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations
  • Where to turn for help
  • Non-judgmental communication and listening skills
  • A 5-step action plan to help someone developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis

Who Should Attend Mental Health First Aid Training?

The course is for anyone who wants to learn how to provide initial help to someone who may be experiencing symptoms of mental illness or in crisis. The course gives people tools to help friends, family members, colleagues, or others in their community.

  • College/university leaders
  • Educators/school administrators
  • Human resource professionals
  • Nurses/physician assistants/primary care workers
  • Public safety personnel
  • Members of faith communities
  • Social services staff and volunteers
  • Policy makers
  • Substance abuse professionals
  • Social workers
  • Parents

For more information or to participate in a Mental Health First Aid training in River Falls, please visit