With schools, colleges and businesses returning to more normal operations this fall, there’s a lot of discussion about caring for one’s mental health. Too often, mental health issues are overlooked or neglected. As part of the onboarding process for the fall semester, Anna Maria College’s Residence Life team was trained in Mental Health First Aid. Led by Dr. John Pratico, Professor of Psychology at Anna Maria and a certified Mental Health First Aid trainer, the training introduced the team to basic mental health topics and several ways to help students early on. 

“Our goal is to equip Residence Life staff with some fundamental strategies to help identify warning signs or know how to help someone in a mental health emergency,” said Dr. Pratico. 

Mental Health First Aid is an international training curriculum designed to demystify and destigmatize mental health problems – substance use among them – in order to create safer, healthier, happier communities. The training is designed for laypersons. The intent is to help the average person learn how to talk about mental health problems, in particular, as they arise during mental health crisis situations. 

“Mental health challenges come in all forms and the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on mental health are still being assessed,” added Dr. Pratico. “Residence Life staff are often on the front lines when it comes to student concerns and we want them to be as supportive as possible to our students throughout their time at Anna Maria College.”

“The training was insightful and comes at such an important time as everyone returns to school and work after so much disruption due to COVID-19,” said Anna Maria College Resident Advisor Gina Carbone. “This program should be as commonplace as swimming lessons or CPR.”

For more information on Mental Health First Aid, contact Dr. John Pratico.