Men­tal Health First Aiders cel­e­brated

Break­fast held to rec­og­nize those cer­ti­fied in Men­tal Health First Aid

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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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — BRANDY­WINE HEALTH FOUN­DA­TION

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — BRANDY­WINE HEALTH FOUN­DA­TION

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.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO — BRANDY­WINE HEALTH FOUN­DA­TION

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.

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