Beacon’s Mental Health First Aid Initiative

Last September during Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, Beacon launched Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to address the stigma associated with suicide and to empower staff with the tools and information they need to make a meaningful difference for someone considering suicide.

MHFA aligns with the tenants of Beacon’s white paper “We Need to Talk about Suicide” which focuses on the “Zero Suicide” model, an evidence-based approach to preventing suicide. The seven-pronged approach outlines how systemic changes can drive down the suicide rate. One of those components is training and developing a competent and caring workforce.

“Mental Health First Aid has been an excellent tool to actualize the training component of our Zero Suicide initiative,” said Clarence Jordan, explaining that an informed staff can help Beacon prevent and reduce the number of suicide occurrences.

Beacon’s eight MHFA trainers have already conducted sessions for a large number of clinical and non-clinical staff located in New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. We launch 2018 trainings in February.

Participant feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

“I feel empowered to go out to my community and counter the stigma. Starting tonight, this will be the topic of discussion at my dinner table.”

“The Instructors taught the course with passion and used their skills to keep us engaged. We learned the signs and symptoms and risk factors and most importantly, we learned how to ask the question about suicide to possibly save someone’s life.”

“Lots of useful information, I fell more confident in assisting someone dealing with a mental health problem even though I am not a clinician.”

Jordon stresses that the trainings address not only our clinicians’ ability to identify suicide risk among our member population; but also equips clinical and non-clinical participants alike to help prevent the suicide of a colleague, friend, or loved one.

For more information about Mental Health First Aid and how you can start MHFA training for your organization, visit their website.

Additional Resources:

Employers Want Workers to Help Colleagues in Crisis

National Council’s Mental Health First Aid site

Beacon’s Zero Suicide White Paper