Mental Health First Aiders celebrated
Breakfast held to recognize those certified in Mental Health First Aid
A breakfast was held at Brandywine Hospital to celebrate those who trained for Mental Health First Aid.
CALN >> The positive effects of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) are being felt across Chester County. At a breakfast gathering held on Nov. 16 at the Brandywine Hospital, certified First Aiders shared how they have used their MHFA skills to assist others, learned about psychiatric hospitalization, and found out about local treatment and support for eating disorders.
Jayne Van Bramer, the vice president of Brandywine Hospital Behavioral Health, provided a glimpse behind the closed doors of a psychiatric in-patient unit. She explained the intake process for someone being admitted, including medical assessment and evaluations, as well as treatment options and types of therapeutic interventions available. The overview helped First Aiders in the audience understand the professional assistance given to individuals in a mental health crisis. In addition, Dr. Michael Pertschuk, the medical director of Brandywine Hospital’s Eating Disorders program, provided basic information about eating disorders and an overview of eating disorders services and programs at Brandywine Hospital.
First Aiders at the gathering volunteered to share stories of how they have applied their skills to help someone experiencing a mental health or substance-use disorder. Mental Health First Aid, some noted, has given them the ability to recognize when another person is struggling, be it a family member, client, or a complete stranger they meet in the community. Important skills include listening to another person nonjudgmentally and giving reassurance, rather than offering advice.
Mental Health First Aid, like the Heimlich maneuver and CPR, is designed for everyday citizens and teaches basic tools to help someone. With behavioral health conditions so common today, MHFA has become a movement nationwide, and almost 2,000 individuals have been certified in Mental Health First Aid in Chester County since the program launched here in July of 2014.
Sponsored by the Brandywine Health Foundation, the COAD Group, Chester County’s Department of Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, this breakfast is one of two such gatherings held each year at different locations in Chester County. These free events are just one way the sponsors are working to build and strengthen Chester County’s community of certified Mental Health First Aiders.
From left: Beth M. Quinn, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Program Coordinator, The COAD Group; Linda Hershey, Coordinator, Coatesville Area Youth Mental Health First Aid Program and Student Assistance Program Liaison/Prevention Specialist, The COAD Group; Brad Bentman, Friendship Elementary School Principal; Jacquelyn C. Taylor, Executive Director, The COAD Group and chair of the Youth Mental Health First Aid organizing committee; Dana M. Heiman, Senior Vice President, Brandywine Health Foundation; Jayne Van Bramer, Vice President of Behavioral Health, Brandywine Hospital; Gary F. Entrekin, Administrator, Chester County Dept. of Mental Health/Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Tracy Behringer, Consultant, Community Outreach, Education, Chester County MH/IDD.
From left: Jacquelyn C. Taylor, Executive Director, The COAD Group and chair of the Youth Mental Health First Aid organizing committee; Dana M. Heiman, Senior Vice President, Brandywine Health Foundation; Jeff Hunt, MS, Chief Executive Officer, Brandywine Hospital and Jayne Van Bramer, Vice President of Behavioral Health, Brandywine Hospital.
From left: Joseph Peleckis, assistant principal Coatesville Area Senior High School, students: Nia Giordano, Casey Frederick, and Salim Madant; and Linda Hershey, Coordinator, Coatesville Area Youth Mental Health First Aid Program and Student Assistance Program Liaison/ Prevention Specialist, The COAD Group.