Upstate physician assistant offers Mental Health First Aid Training

Upstate physician assistant offers Mental Health First Aid Training (FOX Carolina/ 4/20/18)

If someone sitting next to you were to have a mental health crisis, would you know what to do?

One Upstate healthcare provider said the majority of us wouldn't. Now, a global program is coming to the Upstate to help us better understand and support our peers with mental illness.

South Carolina ranks second to last in the number of people trained in what's called "Mental health First Aid," something a medical professional here locally said she wants to turn around quickly.

Physician Assistant Rebecca Ulrich was one of 16 chosen nationwide to be trained at the nation's capital on Mental Health First Aid. The training was made possible by the American Academy of Physician Assistants philanthropic arm, the PA Foundation, through their inaugural Mental Health Outreach Fellowship program.

"We use the word crazy all too often," Ulrich said.

She explains the stigma surrounding mental illness is one we need to get rid of.

Ulrich said the reality is most know very little about disorders like bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, yet mental illness impacts 1 in 5 people in the U.S. She went on to explain if someone were to need CPR, the majority of people would know how to react and help. With a mental crisis episode, it would be much more of a gray area. With this program, she hopes to train everyday people on how to help.

The 8 hour course details specific action plans for different disorders, and uses exercises to put you in the shoes of the person suffering from mental illness.

"I promise that anyone who walks into this course is going to walk out with a different understanding. And a more comprehensive understanding of mental illness."

The courses begin:

Monday May 7th 8:30 am- 5:00pm (class size limit 24)

Friday May 25th 8:30am - 5:00 pm (class size limit 15)

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