Fernandina Beach declares May 2021 “Mental Health First Aid Month”

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
May 21, 2021

Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare Community Liaison Katrina Robinson-Wheeler attended the May 18, 2021 Regular Meeting of the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) where she accepted a City Proclamation declaring May 2021 “Mental Health First Aid Month” from Mayor Mike Lednovich.

Mental Health First Aid was introduced to the United States in 2008. Since its U.S. launch, the program has certified over 15,000 instructors and more than three million people in all fifty states have received training.

Mental Health First Aid is an extremely effective public education program where participants learn about depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury. To assist those who may be developing a problem or may be already in a crisis; Mental Health First Aid program participants also learn how to assess people’s risk of harm or suicide, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance, and encourage the appropriate professional help.

Numerous Mental Health First Aid program studies show participants significantly increase their understanding and knowledge of mental health issues and treatments. Participants can confidently and appropriately respond to an emerging challenge or a crisis and connect more people with care. Mental Health First Aid also reduces the stigma associated with mental health and substance use disorders.

Katrina Robinson-Wheeler, who is also a Mental Health First Aid instructor with Starting Point, thanked the City for its annual recognition of the importance of Mental Health First Aid.  She said that 2/3rds of Americans have experienced depression or anxiety without having an official diagnosis.  The Covid pandemic, which led to quarantine and isolation, worsened the situation, which at times resulted in suicides.  Robinson-Wheeler encouraged community conversation about problems such as these in order to save lives.  She advised individuals in need of training or assistance or groups that might benefit from training to reach out to Starting Point for their free training.

For more information, contact Starting Point at https://www.spbh.org.

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