The United Way of Hall County has received a grant from the Cresswind Community Fund and the Wisdom Project 2030 to hold mental health first aid courses for community members ages 55 and up, or for those caring for someone 55 and older.
"We just see that that is a population that gets missed sometimes," said Jessica Dudley, the president of United Way of Hall County. "When you think of mental health you think of young moms or people going through life stressors, but we don't always think about the different stress that folks 55 and older feel."
Dudley said the pandemic took an emotional toll on people, and access to mental health first aid is already in the local school systems. She said the United Way sought help to reach the 55+ community this way.
The goal for the training is to help community members and caregivers recognize a mental health crisis, and to assist in getting the person proper care. It is not a diagnosing tool.
"In this training, they're going to be learning risk factors; warning signs of mental health issues; information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders - just knowing what's out there; having an action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or who is in crisis; where to turn for help, whether it be professional, peer, or self-help resources; but the training truly does not teach you how to diagnose illness, just how to assist before professional help is available."
Nine training sessions are scheduled through November 19th, and is open to everyone though the emphasis is on community member 55 and older. It is free to attend, but registration is required. Information and a schedule can be found here.
Listen to the full interview with Jessica Dudley on WDUN's Newsroom by clicking the link above.