CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. - With 1 in 5 people suffering from mental illness, mental health professionals are reaching out to the public to help those in crisis.
Unlike a physical ailment, mental health is a pain not easily seen, and yet many of us will cross paths with someone who is battling with it daily.
"I'm not very comfortable with mental health situations. I was trying to be a resource, but it's hard whenever all you know is the Suicide Hotline," explained class attendee Breanna Tidwell.
Tidwell is a program coordinator at Pittsburg State University and as someone who acts as an advisor to many young adults, she wanted to be able to better help her students, so she decided to attend the Crawford County Mental Health First Aid class.
"We're teaching people how to be a first responder if somebody is having a mental health crisis or they're seeing a mental health development in a friend or a family member," said Amy Glines with the health center.
This eight-hour course covers everything from depression and anxiety disorders to substance abuse and psychosis.
But more importantly, it teaches people how to approach and help those suffering from these illnesses.
"Sometimes when professionals do respond, it takes a little while, so, filling in the gap as a first responder on the do's and don'ts. Knowing and building your confidence on things to say, things to not say, is just really important for the general public," Glines added.
"I think everybody should learn more about mental health and it's always good to know these different things because what if you're out there, just walking out on the street and you meet somebody and they have a breakdown, you actually know what to do at this point," Tidwell explained.
And now that Tidwell is mental health first aid certified, she is ready to be there for her students in need.
"I'm 100% percent more confident than I was when I walked in today," said Tidwell.
The Crawford County Mental Health Center hosts these classes every two months and rotates between courses directed to help adults and children.
The next one will be in late september, and costs $25.
If anyone is interested in becoming mental health first aid certified, they can contact the center at (620)231-5130.