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Saluscare to offer mental health first aid

April 23, 2014
Lehigh Acres Citizen

Do you know the danger signs of mental illness or substance abuse? If your child suddenly experiences depression or withdrawal from enjoyable activities, would you know what to do?

Now there's a new nationally recognized day-long program to help parents, friends and neighbors identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance abuse before a crisis occurs.

Called "Youth Mental Health First Aid," the program is offered by SalusCare, Inc., the largest, most comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program in Southwest Florida.

Approximately 10 percent of children in the United States will suffer from a mental illness this year, making mental disorders more common than heart disease and cancer combined as the leading causes of death, according to SalusCare officials.

The eight-hour class will be offered four times: Wednesday, April 30; Saturday, May 10; Wednesday, May 28; and Friday, June 20. All classes will be offered at SalusCare's Evans Avenue Campus at 3763 Evans Avenue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The class costs $25, including all training materials.

Registration is available at by printing and completing the form and mailing to SalusCare, Attn: MH First Aid, 3763 Evans Ave., Fort Myers, FL 33901.

Mental Health First Aid is managed and operated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and is endorsed by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. All classes are taught by Certified Mental Health First Aid instructors.

Participants will learn a simple five-step strategy that includes assessing risk, respectfully listening to and supporting the individual, and identifying appropriate help and other supports.

The training is ideal for parents, teachers, leaders of faith communities, human resources professionals and caring citizens. Each class is limited to 25 participants.

Mental Health First Aid is available for both adult and youth populations and can be tailored for specific groups such as schools, child care centers, businesses, senior living facilities, and healthcare organizations. Sessions can be scheduled at a location of their choice at a time that is convenient for them.

For more information, contact Laura Youngfleisch, the clinical manager of children's outreach mental health services at SalusCare, Inc., at 791-1536 or email her at



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