Centenary University has been awarded a $22,400 grant from the Hackettstown Medical Center Community Advisory Board to provide Mental Health First Aid training to members of the university and the community.
The grant will allow the Hackettstown-based school to conduct eight sessions and train up to 200 people over the next year. Centenary also plans to open up training sessions to local high school educators, police officers, hospital personnel and other interest groups.
MHFA training is an international program that teaches skills to respond to signs of mental illness and substances abuse. Topics covered in training are depression and mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma and psychosis and suicide prevention.
The last time Centenary conducted MHFA training was during the 2017-2018 year. It provided the education to 79 faculty members, staff and students.
Kerry Mullins, vice president for student life and dean of students, said that every participant rated the training as very helpful. She also said one alumnus — who is now a police officer — said he used the skills he learned he used when dealing with a mental health emergency on the job.
“Our goal is to make awareness of Mental Health First Aid training as common as CPR,” Mullins said. “When we increase the percentage of civilians who are trained, we have more people equipped with the skills to assist others who are in crisis.”