Classes teach ‘first aid’ for mental health crises

Kim Painter
USA Today

“Are you thinking of killing yourself?”

“Have you made a plan?”

“Have you thought about how you would do it?”

Esther Amagoh had just finished asking a classmate several questions like those when she raised a hand to ask one of her own: “If they answer yes to all of the questions, what do we do next?”

Amagoh, 24, was in the right place to find out: She was among 22 physical therapy doctoral students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., who devoted a recent afternoon to an abbreviated version of a course that prepares people to respond to others in a mental health crisis.

It’s called mental health first aid. And while the classes are not yet nearly as common as traditional first aid courses — the kind you take to learn how to help a choking victim or cardiac arrest victim — they are catching on.

Read More: Classes teach ‘first aid’ for mental health crises

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