The Family Place teaching people how to recognize mental health issues

Lizette Cruz, the community outreach educator for The Family Place said mental health is just as important as physical health. And she wants people to recognise and rescue people with mental issues.

Mental Health is a serious thing. Suicidal feelings, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder can lead people down a path of substance abuse. When a person steps onto the road of drugs and alcohol addiction, it can make these issues worse.

Curtis Snelgrove, project director at The Family Place, and Lizette Cruz, the community outreach educator talk about the teaching strategy of their Mental Health First Aid course they are teaching to the public.

The Family Place received a grant to teach adult Mental Health First Aid Certification classes to adults form 18 years-old and up.

Curtis Snelgrove, project director at The Family Place, said one in five people have some type of mental illness. One strategy taught in the class is the rear view mirror approach.

“The rear view mirror is small, and typically we spend less of our driving time looking behind,” Snelgrove said. “However, your windshield is bigger, so you can see what’s in front of you to get to where you are going.”

He said the big rule in driving is to keep your eyes on the road, and experience what’s in front of you.

The course gives basic steps for helping people see the big picture, and recognizing when someone is struggling.

“We teach the ALGEE Action Plan to help people in crisis,” Snelgrove said.

“A” of the plan is to assess for risk of suicide or harm. The “L” of the plan is to listen non-judgementally. “G” stands for give reassurance and information. One “E” is for encourage appropriate professional help. And the last ”E” is to encourage self-help and other support.

Lizette Cruz, the community outreach educator, said your mental health is just as important as physical health.

This class usually costs upwards of $170 in other places and we are doing it for free,” she said. “We tracked the 911 calls and found there were 12 to 17 calls a day for mental health issues. So, we know there is a need.”

The Family Place is teaching a course on Mental Health First Aid to help people recognise signs of critical issues and how to help people with those issues.

They walk participants through the process of evaluating people in crisis and then how to react and respond to them.

“We need at least five to no more than 30 people in a class,” she said. “We do it in one eight hour time period, or we can do two, four-hour classes to work around people’s work schedules.

They have been teaching the class since January with great results and feel like it will have a great impact on the community.

For more information call (435) 752-8880 or visit their website: or for group training contact Curtis at (435) 799-3014

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