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Categorized | Business, Youth

Center to Provide Mental Health Training

WEST HARTFORD — The Mandell Jewish Community Center will be offering youth mental health first aid training. Thanks to a grant from the Cigna Foundation.

The evidence-based Mental Health First Aid program will teach individuals how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, officials said. The training will provide adults who regularly interact with young people, ages 12-18, “the knowledge and confidence needed to recognize crucial warning signs and symptoms of mental illness and the skills necessary to provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem.”

“While the Mandell JCC is known for its fitness, we recognize the important role mental health plays in overall wellbeing.  We also recognize that the conversation about mental health can be a sensitive discussion. There can be fear and stigma related to starting a conversation about mental health, but by teaching people how to identify, understand and respond to a mental health situation, we can help end the shame that keep so many from seeking the help they need,” said David Jacobs, Executive Director of the Mandell JCC.

“At Cigna, we believe that mental health is just as important as physical health, and teaching people how to respond to a mental health crisis is just as important as training people in CPR,” said Wendy Sherry, president of Cigna Healthcare of Connecticut, Inc. “We are proud to collaborate with the Mandell JCC to bring this important, groundbreaking training to the Greater Hartford community.”

The JCC expects to train 350 Youth Mental Health First Aiders over the next year. Youth Mental Health First Aiders are adults who regularly interact with young people, ages 12-18, including; teachers, parents, family members, caregivers, neighbors, health & human service workers, school staff, community organizations, peers, clergy, police officers, firefighters, first responders, coaches, camp counselors, pediatricians and municipal professionals. To date, more than one million people across the United States have been trained in Mental Health First Aid.

The courses offered by the JCC will be taught by certified Mental Health First Aid instructors, Rebecca Ewald Krusinski and Johanna Peck.

Ms. Krusinski is a licensed clinical social worker with over 15 years in the mental health field. Ms. Peck has over 15 years of marketing experience in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut, She is well-versed in human resources and staff management situations. Her own personal life experiences led her to become a certified instructor in Mental Health First Aid.

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