Monday, December 10, 2007

An Innovative Approach to Prevention

Residents of Frederick County, Maryland soon will have access to first aid for mental health concerns, according to an interesting article that appeared December 8 in the Frederick News Post.

Maryland's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is piloting the program, which offers a 12-hour training course to community volunteers. Members of the community will learn how to recognize the symptoms of mental illness, which should enable them to approach mentally ill people and refer them to the appropriate resources and services.

The "first aid program" has been offered in Australia and Scotland; leaders in Maryland decided to follow suit while developing strategies in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting in April. The state is using a Mental Health Transformation State Incentive Grant to pilot changes, including the first aid initiative.

The program aims to reduce stigma and will serve an educational purpose. A workgroup recommended the program so people who notice someone with problems will be able to help them before it is too late.

More information is available at

No comments: