Happy Doc Gets Mental Health First Aid

Having heard about Mental Health First Aid from Emergency and Critical Care Vet Marie Holowaychuck, DVM we felt an introduction to this course would be an excellent addition to the Happy Doc curriculum.

The one-day training focused on escalating mental health issues and mental health crises in several areas, including suicidal ideation, non-suicidal self-harm, anxiety attacks, psychosis, and substance use.  The excellent companion text also covers eating disorders.  There is a brief post-test, and the result is a certification that's valid for three years.  I took the adult course, but there are pediatric courses as well as customized courses for law enforcement and other professions.

Mental Health First Aid focuses on basic interventions of assessment and triage, and some general principles for personal safety and de-escalation for those who might be confronted with mental health emergencies.  It is primarily designed for para-professionals and non-mental-health professionals, but laypeople can benefit from its easy-to-apply principles and first-responder approach.

Happy Doc won't have a full Mental Health First Aid training, but we will have a one-hour presentation providing an overview and the principles behind the program.  We will also provide referrals for anyone interested pursuing provider or instructor certification, and explain the steps for doing so.

A big shout-out to David Tijerina and Valerie Vasquez, who led a terrific class, and for Angela, RN, who came in for part of the day and offered her own experience and perspective.  Thanks also to the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health for sponsoring the event, and for the Heritage Center for hosting it!