EHF kicks off Mental Health training across the Diocese

EHF partners with churches to host Mental Health First Aid training for congregational leaders and community partners.
Nac Group Certificates with Instructors.JPG        Mental Health First Aid participants receive certifications following
                     training at Christ Episcopal Church in Nacogdoches.

In response to concerns around mental health in the community, EHF is partnering with churches within the 57 counties it serves to offer specialized Mental Health First Aid training for congregations and community members. We launched the first two trainings in January at Christ Episcopal Church, Nacogdoches and St. David’s, Austin.

Mental Health First Aid is help offered to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until the person receives appropriate treatment and support, or until the crisis is resolved. The training provides a review of various signs and symptoms of the most common mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance use disorders, eating disorders and suicidality) and a five-step plan of intervention for each of these. Participants learn about local mental health resources and how to refer a person who needs help.

Because churches are often a place of refuge for those suffering, it makes sense for clergy and congregations to have basic training in how to respond to someone in need. St. David’s hosted the first session as a two-day training on January 13-14. Among those certified were 22 St. David’s parish staff, clergy, and volunteers and one clergy member from St. Mary Magdalene, Manor.

Austin Group Certificates 2.JPG                  Participants in the Austin training receive their certificates.


The second traiNac Exercise 1 - Deacon Wanda Cuniff.JPGning session took place in Nacogdoches at Christ Church. Certifications were issued to members of St. Paul’s Woodville, St. John’s Calvert and Christ Church Nacogdoches, as well as staff and volunteers from other churches and local social service agencies. Participants said the training was very practical and provided a solid foundation for engaging those with mental health issues.

EHF plans to offer at least 14 trainings in various congregations throughout the Diocese in both English and Spanish in 2016. Locations and dates are based upon interest and availability of congregations to host the training (costs are covered by EHF).