While military service often fosters resilience in individuals and families, some may experience mental health or substance use challenges. It is essential that our communities be prepared to identify and support the more than 22 million veterans and their families who have served our country. Mental Health First Aid is a way to increase the level of baseline knowledge about mental health and substance use concerns and, if necessary, to help individuals get connected to care.
Family members and personnel working with military and families are often not aware of how to engage veterans with mental illnesses and addictions. In addition to the impact of military service on the veteran, each has a circle of family (significant other, children, parents, siblings, etc.) and friends who are also impacted by their military service.
Mental Health First Aid offers a simple, proven combination of information and techniques for effective interventions. A tailored module builds upon the effectiveness of the standard Mental Health First Aid curriculum by focusing on the unique experiences and needs of the military, veteran and family population.
Nearly 100 Mental Health First Aid courses have been provided to organizations that serve the military, veterans and their families including:
Mental Health First Aiders can help to:
“I realized [that] the military has so much more to learn and we are behind [when it comes to]
“The information is fantastically succinct; I really like the military addition.”
“[Military-Veteran Mental Health First Aid] is definitely a class that I would recommend to anyone in a
situation to respond to military members crisis. I feel better equipped to assist in mental health
incidents since attending.”
Mental Health First Aid helps people know that mental illnesses and addictions are real, common and treatable and that it’s OK to seek help. Research demonstrates this program’s effectiveness in improving knowledge of mental illnesses and substance use, removing fear and misunderstanding and enabling those trained to offer concrete assistance.
Individuals trained in Mental Health First Aid can help:
® A discussion of the specific risk factors faced by many service members and their families such as trauma, both mental and physical, stress, separation, etc.
® A discussion of military culture and its relevance to the topic of mental health
® A review of common mental health resources for service members, their families and those who support them
® Applying the ALGEE action plan in a number of scenarios designed specifically for service members, their families and those that support them
The program is listed in SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidenced Based Programs and Practices. Mental Health First Aid is a low-cost, high-impact program that generates tremendous community awareness and support.
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