As the North Suburban YMCA continues to adapt to the needs of the community and respond to the mental health crisis due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, 12 Y staff members attended a 4-hour virtual training with the Josselyn Center, a community mental health clinic, and became certified Mental Health First Aid Responders.
Addressing mental health issues has emerged as a NSYMCA priority initiative. The Y recently expanded its Y.E.S. (YMCA Educational Series) programming to include workshops related to mental health, youth and families, as well as diversity, equity, inclusion and LGBGTQ+ topics.
The Josselyn Center training teaches participants how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary. Topics in the training covered included anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions. The funding for the training was provided by a Mental Health Pandemic Response grant from the Village of Northbrook.
North Suburban YMCA CEO Kathy Fielding anticipates that the training will give her staffers the skills to have open conversations about dealing with the mental health challenges of its members, neighbors, and volunteers.
"Getting our Mental Health First Responder certification is a crucial element to maintaining our core values of support, inclusivity, and making a positive impact in our community," said Fielding.
"Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders," stated Rebecca Shulman, training therapist at the Josselyn Center.
Schulman added that the training is designed to teach parents, teachers, caregivers, leaders, supervisors, and other caring citizens how to help people who may be experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge, or are in crisis.
"The hope is to equip individuals with the necessary tools to help another in need or know where to direct someone to the help they need."
For more information about getting involved at the NSYMCA, contact Kim Nyren, Director of Community Investment at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the North Suburban YMCA
The North Suburban YMCA services Northbrook and 14 surrounding communities with programs and tools that help its residents become healthier, more connected, and confident, ensuring that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. The NSYMCA focuses on Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility and is a charitable organization, inclusive and welcoming to all in our community. Learn more at www.nsymca.org