YMCA brings free mental health training to Sidney


SIDNEY — In response to the nation’s mental health crisis, The Sidney-Shelby County YMCA will bring Mental Health First Aid training to Sidney Ohio on Jan, 11-12, 2023, thanks to the generosity of the Mental Health First Aid Collaborative group. The groundbreaking skills-based course gives people the tools to identify, understand and respond to someone who might be struggling with a mental health or substance use challenge — and connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.

The 8-hour course will be offered twice. On Jan. 12 class will be held from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at the YMCA. On Jan. 11-12, the class will be held on both days from 5-9 p.m.

Mental Health First Aid is intended for a variety of audiences: First responders, school and college leadership, people who serve older adults, faith communities, minority groups, Ohio peer recovery supporters, friends and family of individuals with a mental illness or addiction or parents interested in learning more about mental illness and addiction. The course, which is normally $170 will be offered to anyone in the community and will be free of charge thanks to a grant.

One in five Americans has a mental illness, and the pandemic has dramatically increased depression and anxiety, but many are reluctant to seek help or don’t know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. Friends and family members may find it hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not receive care until it is too late.

Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid prepares participants to interact with a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aiders learn a five-step Action Plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

“It is so important that we have an open dialogue about mental health and substance use so we can better support one another,” Jamie Crippin, Operations director of the Sidney-Shelby County YMCA and Mental Health First Aider, said. “Mental Health First Aid trainings are one more way that Sidney-Shelby Co. YMCA is helping to equip our community to help those in need.”

Crippin was able to attend and become a Certified Mental Health First Aider just last month and had this to say about the experience, “I found the Mental Health First Aid course curriculum to be very thorough and allowed me to gain valuable skills in assisting friends, family, neighbors and strangers alike with mental health challenges. I have noticed that since the training I have been able to adjust even minor things in my day-to-day language that will hopefully make a difference, even if to just one individual.”

In just 12 years, Mental Health First Aid has become a movement in the United States — more than 2.6 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day.

For more information or to participate in a Mental Health First Aid training in Sidney, register online at https://form.jotform.com/222966575730162 or contact Crippin at [email protected] or 937-492-9134.