Mental Health First Aid Training Being Offered to Paramus Residents and Workers

13 Feb 2015 Events, In the News, News No Comments

NOTE: Due to weather-related issues, this has been moved to Town Hall.

The Paramus Stigma-Free Zone – in cooperation with the Bergen County Department of Health Services – is offering the nationally-recognized Mental Health First Aid course free of charge to individuals who live or work in Paramus.

Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that is designed to help individuals to better understand mental illness and the symptoms associated with it, and learn to provide support and timely intervention. Defined as an “evidence-based interactive course,” it teaches the signs of mental illness and substance abuse and introduces a five-step action plan to respond to a mental health crisis, as well as how to initiate referral to mental health care resources.

The award winning 8-hour certification course will be offered in two 4-hour classes on Tuesday, February 24 from noon to 4:00 pm and Wednesday February 25 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. The classes will be held at the James J. Tedesco III Life Safety Building in Paramus. Individuals are required to attend both classes to obtain certification.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that “one in four adults−approximately 61.5 million Americans−experiences mental illness in a given year.” Programs such as Mental Health First Aid are vital in educating the public and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness, which is at the core of the Stigma Free Zone’s mission. This is the first free-of-charge town-wide offering of the course.

The Paramus Stigma-Free Zone, formed in mid-2013, has taken the stance that one of the best ways to remove stigma is to educate the community as a whole. Through raising awareness and starting healthy communication on mental health, they hope to increase the chances of an individual seeking treatment. Since their formation, the county and other towns within it have embraced the initiative and formed complementary task forces.

There is limited seating for the course to ensure adherence to Mental Health First Aid guidelines, and is therefore offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to email Mary Ann at [email protected] or Judith at [email protected], or call 201-925-1953.

Individuals interested in similar offerings from the county, and other town Stigma-Free Zones within, can find out more by visiting the Bergen County Stigma-Free website.


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