Mental Health Awareness Month: How you can help

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. There are many ways people can support the mental health of family, colleagues and friends.

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Here are some programs that train people to become mental health advocates in their communities.

Mental Health First Aid: Sponsored by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, Mental Health First Aid is “a skills-based training course that teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to mental health and substance use challenges.”

Psychological First Aid: Supporting Yourself and Others During COVID-19: Hosted by the American Red Cross, this one-hour online course is “designed for anyone interested in learning techniques for supporting mental health during the COVID-19 crisis.” Even as coronavirus cases decline in some areas, the pandemic’s mental health effects are expected to linger for quite some time.

LivingWorks: This organization offers a host of suicide prevention training programs, including online and in-person instruction.

Navigating a Mental Health Crisis: This self-directed guide, published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, can assist those who are experiencing a mental health crisis and those seeking to help them.

CDC’s Suicide Prevention Resources: Provides suicide prevention strategies and access to national suicide prevention hotlines.

In addition to these resources, there are state-based programs and organizations that may provide other mental health training opportunities.

Note: If you or someone you know is thinking of harming themselves, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free support at 1-800-273-8255. Beginning July 16, 2022, U.S. residents can also be connected to the Lifeline by dialing 988. For more about risk factors and warning signs, visit the organization’s official website.