Chester County Staff Certified in Mental Health First Aid

Written on by Sheri Shifman

Chester County C/FST team members (pictured left to right are Kelly Frizen, Ana O’Campo Gonzalez, Jane Rawlings, and Joan Martin) became certified in Mental Health First Aid on October 22nd.  More than being an excellent ‘team’ day opportunity, the training provided C/FST with a simple model for use when encountering someone who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.  The training is based on a curriculum first created in Australia, hence the cute koala often tossed around the room whose t-shirt advertises his name and the model for crisis response: A.L.G.E.E.  The model was developed as part of a nation-wide effort to educate communities on mental illness and teach basic skills to respond to an individual in distress.  The idea is to make the model as common place as CPR so that anyone feels comfortable with an approach to help a friend or stranger in mental distress.  Chester County C/FST has interviewed over 900 people over the course of our 3 1/2 years in the County.  In this work, we sometimes encounter people who may be in the midst of crisis or looking for resources for themselves or a family member.  The Mental Health First Aid training provided an opportunity for discussion about mental illness, changing perspectives on mental illness to reduce stigma, and practice for the average person to calmly respond to a crisis event.  The team all agreed it was a day well spent!  Many thanks to the County and to presenters, both members of the Chester County Suicide Prevention Task Force, Tracy Behringer and Carol Harkins.

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About Kathryn

Kathryn Lerro

Hi, I’m Kathryn Lerro, mother of two lovely daughters, wife of one fine man.

After 24 years of wandering (thanks to my husband’s Air Force career), we are back home on the East Coast. We currently live in Philadelphia where I enjoy writing, taking long walks, decorating my front window in South Philly tradition, talking to interesting people and eating great food.

As I’ve met people on my travels I’ve become keenly aware that most of us could use a healthy dose of encouragement. It is for this reason that I try to weave a message of hope into everything I write.

About Mindy

Mindy Haas

Hi, I am Melinda Haas, but you can call me Mindy.   A true introvert, I delight in solitude with a good book or a movie.  I like dabbling in nature photography while taking rigorous hikes.  I adore my husband who is a ton of fun.  He shares my wanderlust as well as my appetite for Indian and Thai food.  Very often, you’ll find us dancing to Cumbia in the kitchen while we make dinner.   We also love road tripping and exploring new places. (New England is our new favorite!)

Through my writing, I want to encourage and embolden others to push past the limits they place on themselves.  I want to help people see that they can accomplish more than they think they were capable of.


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