Mental Health First Aid Virtual Adult Training

Event Time: May 21, 2022 10:00 am

Event Location:

MHFA is a groundbreaking early intervention and public education program that teaches community members about behavioral health and how to assist a person experiencing a behavioral health problem. MHFA teaches the skills needed to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of behavioral health challenges or crises. First Aid is administered until appropriate treatments and supports are received or until the crisis is resolved.

MHFA virtual trainings are best experienced on a laptop or personal computer and require the completion of both the Self-paced Pre-work AND the Virtual Instructor-Led training session to receive the 3-year national certification.

Training Date and Time: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 (10:00am-4:00pm)

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Mental Health First Aid Virtual Adult Training

Event Time: May 21, 2022 10:00 am

Event Location:

MHFA is a groundbreaking early intervention and public education program that teaches community members about behavioral health and how to assist a person experiencing a behavioral health problem. MHFA teaches the skills needed to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of behavioral health challenges or crises. First Aid is administered until appropriate treatments and supports are received or until the crisis is resolved.

MHFA virtual trainings are best experienced on a laptop or personal computer and require the completion of both the Self-paced Pre-work AND the Virtual Instructor-Led training session to receive the 3-year national certification.

Training Date and Time: Wednesday, May 18, 2022 (10:00am-4:00pm)

> More Information

Stand Together for Mental Health

The mind is the seat of consciousness, unconsciousness, and mental processes including thought, imagination, memory, will, and sensation. It is responsible for perception, pain experience, belief, desire, intention, and emotion.

Imagine this seat of consciousness and unconsciousness has been infiltrated and those processes are compromised.  How would you know? What would you do if you knew?  

Most experts agree trauma is an underlying (and often unresolved) common denominator for individuals experiencing behavioral health challenges. Trauma has an indelible impact on all of us whether from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) or traumas experienced across the lifespan.

The pandemic introduced another layer of complexity. COVID-19 forced many to operate, isolate, and perform in ways that created stress, uncertainty, and confusion.  Studies show individuals are more likely to perform better when their mental health and wellbeing (MWB) is high.

MWB is a critical part of developing healthy coping skills to manage the challenges we face every day. Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization as not merely the absence of mental health problems but as a “state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community”. MWB is central to effective human functioning. 

Let’s go back to our opening questions and expand.

For many people, the first sign of trauma is a change in behavior, especially in response to something sudden. For others, trauma may be something that has impacted us over a period of time and may become part of our everyday embodiment. Regardless of whether we are experiencing acute trauma or chronic trauma, the “what would you do?” opportunities are the same: identify resources and supports to help address trauma in a healthy way.

Fortunately, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) have partnered on the Together for Mental Health campaign. DBHIDS and NAMI remind us that anyone can experience mental illness regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender identity.

It is important to recognize there are common barriers to accessing treatment, such as cost, prejudice, and discrimination. We’re not all in the same boat when it comes to moving toward mental wellbeing. We ARE in the same storm of COVID-19 and the traumas experienced as a result, but we are in different boats. 

Recognizing these challenges, DBHIDS embraced the mantra: “it’s OK to NOT be OK” and launched the “Boost Your Mood” campaign. DBHIDS provides a variety of resources to support Philadelphians experiencing trauma, mental illness, substance use/dependence, and other behavioral health challenges.

Using Trauma, Equity, and Community (TEC) as a lens to understanding and addressing behavioral health challenges across Philadelphia’s diverse communities, DBHIDS believes that regardless of the level of stress and/or trauma we experience, we can all embrace mental wellbeing and thrive. We are #Together4MH.

H. Jean Wright II is deputy commissioner of the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS) where he oversees the Behavioral Health and Justice Division. He has a doctorate in psychology with focus in clinical and forensic psychology.

Boost Your Mental Health with Exercise

Mental Health Awareness Month offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on and reprioritize our mental health and wellness. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Taking time for reflection is important; knowing what drains our energy and what gives us energy strengthens our ability to honor and take care of ourselves. I want to highlight one tool within our mental health and wellness toolbox:  Exercise.  

Exercise is an excellent tool for relieving stress, increasing energy, and promoting positive wellbeing. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 30 minutes a day of physical activity. However, you do not need to push through a session at the gym to receive the perks associated with regular physical activity. Walks around your neighborhood, opting to take stairs, and even doing squats while your brush your teeth can all provide benefits. Studies show that regardless of age or fitness level, exercise can provide some mental health benefits, such as:

Promoting happiness 

Exercise releases endorphins, creating feelings of happiness and euphoria. Research has shown that, in some cases, exercise works as well as medication in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression – and the effects can be long-lasting. One vigorous exercise session can alleviate symptoms for hours, and a regular schedule may significantly reduce them over time. 

Preventing cognitive decline

The brain typically shrinks in late adulthood, and this shrinkage plays a role in age-related memory decline. Working out, especially between ages 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevents degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning. 

Physical exercise is also important in remaining mentally sharp in advanced age. A 2012 study of people in their early 70s found that those who engaged in regular physical exercise, such as walking, retained bigger brains than those who were inactive.

Increasing relaxation 

For some, a moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia. Moving around 5 to 6 hours before bedtime raises the body’s core temperature. When the body temp drops back down to normal a few hours later, it signals the body it’s time to sleep.

Boosting brainpower 

Multiple studies conducted on mice and men show cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Studies suggest a tough workout increases levels of brain-derived protein in the body, which is believed to help with decision making, higher thinking, and learning. 

Supporting recovery 

Routine physical activity during treatment and recovery will help reintroduce natural levels of endorphins into the system. This helps with feeling better, but it also reteaches the body that it is capable of regulating its own brain chemistry and mood in healthy, natural ways.

We all deserve time to rest and recharge so we can be our best. I urge everyone to prioritize their own mental health and wellbeing. We won’t be effective in helping others unless we first take care of ourselves. 

Andrea Brooks is Chief Program Officer for the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), where she oversees the Division of Behavioral Health.