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Mental Health First Aid Training held at Triad colleges and universities

The training is aimed to help a person learn the skills to better respond to someone experiencing mental illness.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Mental health is one of the many problems the pandemic has highlighted, especially among students.

Triad colleges and universities are making sure their students get the care they need through training services that target mental health.

It's called Mental Health First Aid Training. It helps you learn the skills to better respond to someone experiencing mental illness.

One of the first lines of defense when dealing with mental health is knowing the signs. But, most are only spotted by therapists and psychologists. That's why there are programs like Mental Health First Aid. 

News 2 spoke with organizers from UNCG and Surry Community College who spoke on the benefit of the training. 

"We know unfortunately there are just not enough mental health professionals to go around. We also know that mental health professionals are not the only person that can provide support when someone is struggling," said UNCG Counseling Center Director Jennifer Whitney. 

UNCG currently has 10 mental health professionals and one case manager.To help, two staff members and two students are now certified as Mental Health First Aid trainers to teach classes. 

"That first class is made up of students. Because it isn't just about our faculty and staff knowing how to support our students, but our students being able to support one another." 

At Surry Community College there is only one mental health counselor on staff. 

They recently had 21 employees complete the Mental Health First Aid training. 

"We've had students that have had a crisis in the classroom, in the bathroom, or something like that. We need people that can go and provide that first aid care," said Surry Community College Dean of Student Services Sabrina Terry. 

One employee who participated was Surry Community College Director of Advising Melissa Recknor.

"It was neat. We got some hands-on experience. The ability to walk through some scenarios and saw some videos of scenarios as well will help us refer back to things as we continue," said Recknor. 

Soon, Surry Community College plans to have three additional staff members trained as Mental Health First Aid instructors. 

North Carolina A&T also has Mental Health First Aid training for the entire campus and community. 

If you or someone you know needs help, we have a list of resources. 

UNCG and North Carolina A&T also provide QPR Suicide Prevention training to help people recognize suicidal thoughts and behaviors.