So I Just Became A Mental Health First Aid Instructor (for

I can breathe now. After spending the past 13 months trying to get accepted and five days powering through a dense curriculum and teaching simulations, I finally received my certification as a Mental Health First Aid Instructor. Therapy and chicken wings for everyone. I first heard of the Mental Health First Aid course as a recommendation from Chirlane McCray, writer, editor, and First Lady of New York City, as she explained the city’s ThriveNYC campaign at a mental health roundtable she hosted at her residence. The city intends to certify 250,000 people in Mental Health First Aid by the end of 2020, so I signed up for the eight-hour course a few months later.

The course teaches you to identify and engage with people developing a mental health issue or experiencing a mental health crisis, “how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate treatments and other supportive help” per the manual. Fortunately, no matter how much your inner empath or goodest intentions lead you reach for that cape, it doesn’t require or empower you to diagnose and “fix” people or wipe people’s woes away. You won’t be a therapist after a week. Stand down, future Iyanla.

I learned a lot while soaking up the course material and interacting with the trainers and other students. Here are some highlights.

Read the rest at

Here's the rest of my mental health advocacy/writing.

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