The Gila County Community Action Program team is promoting a free online mental health first aid training course.

Organizers say Americans are struggling with high levels of emotional distress from the COVID-19 pandemic and communities need first aiders who are equipped to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and addiction issues, as well as care for ourselves.

Become a certified first aider for those struggling with challenges related to COVID-19 — even during times of physical distancing.

This training is a new blended/virtual training that requires 8 hours to complete. It is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23 and offered free online, but registration is required as enrollment is limited.

The first portion is a two-hour self-paced course that must be completed before continuing to the second portion of the scheduled training.

The second portion of the training is a six-hour instructor-led online training.

To be covered:

• Common signs and symptoms of mental illness

• Common signs and symptoms of substance abuse

• How to interact with a person in crisis

• How to connect the person with help

The course will teach you how to apply the ALGEE action plan:

• Assess for risk of suicide or harm

• Listen non-judgmentally

• Give reassurance and information

• Encourage appropriate professional help

• Encourage self-help and other support strategies

This class is limited to 20 participants. Slots are filled on a first come, first served basis. Register today for this free online training at matforce@cableone.net or call 928-708-0100.

Funding for this prevention resource was made possible by MATFORCE through one or more grants including the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith and Family — Parents Commission grant; Health Choice Integrated Care — Substance Abuse Block Grant; SAMHSA Partnerships For Success grant.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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