Mental Health First Aid is a national movement meant to train people to “Be the Difference” in someone’s life by teaching them how to understand, recognize, and respond to someone experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.

Mankato Clinic is in the midst of providing that training to employees and will soon offer it to community members as well.

Mankato Clinic Psychiatric and Psychology Department LPN Sarah Sanders has completed the program, and said as the triage nurse she’s often the first person someone in crisis will speak with and the course will help her better respond using, “Tools on how to deal with the phone calls when they come in, what the patient is struggling with, what resources we can give the patient to help them through this time that they’re going through.”

Sanders said there currently aren’t enough mental health workers. “There’s a definite shortage and there’s a lot of patients,” she explained, “There’s a lot of people that are struggling with mental health issues that don’t always have the resources to help them.”

The course isn’t just for mental health professionals, and Sanders said it’s a great resource for friends and family members that want to learn how to better help. She said, “I have a couple of family members that deal with anxiety issues, so it really gives me another tool to help them talk through what they are struggling with at that time.”

Mankato Clinic is offering a one-day training, open to the public, on Thursday, November 8th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Mankato Clinic Conference Rooms at the Madison East Center. Online registration is available. The course costs $60, which includes lunch.