Free Mental Health First Aid

Free Trainings from Samaritan Health

Many people take a first aid course at some point in their lives to learn what to do in case of a physical emergency, but what about a mental health emergency? Samaritan Health Services offers free mental health first aid courses, held at least once a month and focused on either youth, veterans, or adults.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 43.8 million adults deal with a mental illness in a given year, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the second leading cause of death for people aged 10–34, and depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide – making mental illness a major contributor to the global burden of disease. Serious mental illness costs Americans $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year.

According to NAMI, mood disorders, including major depression and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18-44. Because of stigma, many of these statistics have previously been ignored. Samaritan aims to combat stigma and prevent some of these hospital visits locally with their mental health first aid trainings.

These free, eight-hour classes are sponsored by the Mullins Charitable Funds in partnership with the Good Samaritan Hospital Foundation, and have been running since 2013. Instructors provide attendees with tools to identify mental health crises, common warning signs, first aid, preventative measures, as well as common signs and symptoms of substance abuse and how to administer naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose.

The Instructors
Three professional instructors provide critical skills and tools to participants.

Hillary Harrison is a health education coordinator and mother of three children with significant trauma and mental health challenges. She works for children’s mental health advocacy, and is the Executive Director of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Linn County. Her passion is “educating our community to decrease stigma and increase people’s ability to help others.”

Kyle Hatch is a Veterans Navigator for Samaritan Veterans Outreach. After serving in the Marines, he started working with veterans. Hatch believes “through education, we can help eliminate the stigmas associated with mental illness and provide mental health care on the frontlines.”

Jana Svoboda is a mental health therapist and clinical social worker. She has a passion for increasing awareness and believes that this first aid program is a “great vehicle for spreading the word that stigma is hurtful, the mind and body are both vulnerable to illness, and recovery is possible.”

Upcoming Trainings
Adult-focused trainings will be held on November 4 and December 11. A youth-focused training will take place on November 22. All trainings are held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 3600 NW Samaritan Drive, Corvallis. Free with required registration.

To register or learn more call 866-243-7747, visit samhealth.org/MentalHealthFirstAid or email SHSHealthEd@samhealth.org