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Christian Health Hosted Mental Health First Aid Training Course to Help Educate Community First Responders

WYCKOFF, NJ … As part of the Wyckoff Stigma-Free initiative, Christian Health (CHCC) recently hosted a two-day Mental Health First Aid training course for first responders. The course taught how to help someone who is developing a mental- health problem or experiencing a mental-health crisis and links them with appropriate professional help. The training helped to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Nineteen participants from the Wyckoff Community Emergency Response Team, volunteer Ambulance Corp., Police Department, Wyckoff schools, and Wyckoff Family YMCA attended the by-invitation-only training and earned certification which has been endorsed by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and several states’ Department of Health and Mental Health.

“It was great to see this strong turnout for the Mental Health First Aid Training,” said Cathy Pilone, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, CHCC Vice President/Administrator of Mental Health Services and a member of the Wyckoff Stigma-Free Task Force. “There were such dynamic interactions and an obvious enhanced understanding of the challenges faced by individuals who have a mental illness. These training courses are clearly one of the key ways we will help combat the stigma associated with mental illness. The obvious support from the community speaks to the need for us to continue to offer this training so many more individuals can gain the knowledge and confidence to appropriately address the needs of persons with mental illness.”

Last year, Wyckoff Mayor Kevin Rooney declared Wyckoff a stigma-free zone, making a commitment to the Wyckoff community to support training, education, and dialogue about mental illness. By educating our community and breaking down barriers we open minds and access to the care that so many people need. Establishing stigma-free zones will raise awareness of resources and encourage residents to engage in care as soon as the need is identified so recovery can begin, hope is inspired, and tragedies are avoided. CHCC was pleased to be part of this initiative and made a grant of $5,000 to support this very important cause. For more information on the Wyckoff Stigma-Free initiative, visit