Region Ten to Bring Mental Health Program to Cville Area - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Region Ten to Bring Mental Health Program to Cville Area

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Region Ten Community Services Board Region Ten Community Services Board

There's a new effort to help people facing mental crises. Region Ten is bringing a nationally recognized course to the Charlottesville area.

Through a program called Mental Health First Aid, Region Ten is teaching the community how to help those in crisis, so they don't suffer in silence.

"Mental Health First Aid is basically training people to respond to notice signs and symptoms of mental illness in the community," said Jane Lewis, quality improvement and standards director for Region Ten.

Region Ten is offering Mental Health First Aid trainings in hopes of connecting people with the help they may need. The 8-hour course focuses on identifying illnesses like anxiety and depression, which Lewis says are often ignored.

"Because they don't know what to do or how to respond they tend to turn away and not be involved at all with that individual," Lewis said.

The class teaches a five-step action plan to offer initial help to people with signs or symptoms of mental illness, with the goal of connecting them with the appropriate professional, peer, or self-help care.

A group from "On Our Own," a peer support center in Charlottesville, says the course is crucial for the work they do.

"You have to handle it with care and deal with it in the most appropriate way," said Rachel Aull, who is participating in the program.

"It will definitely help us in knowing where to refer them to and what to do to help them," said Erin Tucker, another participant.

While many professionals are taking advantage of the course, everyone is urged to participate.

"We've trained a lot of people in the community who just may be a neighbor of a family member who have an interest in those who have a mental illness," Lewis said.

Lewis says the course is not about becoming an expert in mental health; it's about knowing how to help. Region Ten hopes to train 5,000 people by 2018.

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