One’s mental health is often not as much of a priority as the physical body, yet they are closely linked. Taking care of one’s emotions, thoughts, and mental well-being is just as crucial as getting your annual fitness. However, many people with mental illness are reluctant to seek help due to stigma, lack of access and misinformation, which unfortunately leads to delayed treatment, culminating in crisis.
Healthcare leaders and policymakers at every level are increasingly aware that communities need support to combat untreated mental illness and promote well-being and prevention.
Emergence Health Network has developed the Mental Health Learning Library (MHLL) in collaboration with the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. It provides free basic behavioral health education support for community members and local professionals. The training team provides the latest, most relevant evidence-based and evidence-informed training modules. In addition, efforts are focused on accommodating anyone, anywhere, in Spanish and English, and multiple learning styles (in-person, virtual, or blended).
“We are open to everyone in the community, anyone interested in learning, and we are empowering them to prepare them with the tools they need to help those in need reduce stigma,” says Luis Chavarria, director of education for the Emergence Health Network. “Part of our effort with the support of the Health Foundation has been to find ways to promote this type of education and higher education to professionals in the area.”
Whether through a comprehensive Mental Health First Aid course or targeted training on suicide prevention, grief management, or stress reduction, MHLL assists in recognizing signs and symptoms of behavioral problems and finding appropriate services.
“The video demonstrations showing the right or wrong ways to respond to a person experiencing a psychological challenge or addiction were very helpful,” said a recent attendee who attended one of the Mental Health First Aid training sessions. “It has helped me see the situation from an outsider’s point of view rather than being in it, so that when I encounter situations like this I can have a better perspective and plan how to respond appropriately.”
The Mental Health Learning Library team has trained more than 10,000 participants in the area, including law enforcement, social service providers, educators, students, and community members.
The Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s mission to improve the overall health of the community also includes the mental well-being of the region. The Health Foundation seeks to support frontline organizations such as the Emergence Health Network and the Mental Health Learning Library with the resources they need to make a positive impact in the community related to mental illness and to ensure access to services for the most needy. For more information about the mental health learning library, visit https://emergencehealthnetwork.org/mental-health/ or bit.ly/3ZDebyd.
Sandra Day is an associate program officer for the Paso del Norte Health Foundation. She can be reached at 915-218-2617 and [email protected]