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National Council of Mental Wellbeing presents mental health first aid class


The National Council of Mental Wellbeing is having a day-long mental health first aid training course at UNK on Saturday, April 13. The purpose of the event is to increase awareness of mental health issues and lower the stigma around talking about it.

Krista Fritson, a UNK Psychology professor who is teaching the course, compared the training to CPR for mental health.

“We want to address mental health from an educational and accurate standpoint so that people can improve their lives and the lives of others around them,” Fritson said.

The course later this week is fully booked, but another mental health first aid training day is planned for next fall.

The course is going to cover the signs and symptoms of someone in a mental health crisis. This will also include roleplay and modeling by the course instructors to show how to interact with people who need help.

“The main intent is to basically just inform people about mental health and take away some of the stigma so they can have a conversation and be less fearful or avoidant of difficult situations related to mental health,” Fritson said.

After COVID-19, the rates of depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders have gone up. Fritson said that it is hard to tell right now if that is due to the actual numbers being up or increased reportage.

Either way, Fritson said that as a society we are making progress toward the treatment of mental health and decreasing the stigmatization around it.

“It’s really important that we continue to get the word out and provide accurate information about behavior and mental health while at the same time not over-pathologizing it,” Fritson said.

Better awareness and training is slowly helping to change and improve the mental health landscape across the country.

“We are highly underserved with the amount of mental health providers in this state as well as across the nation, but we continue to make headway by educating the communities through programs like mental health first aid,” Fritson said.

Those who are interested in the training day next fall can contact Fritson at 

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Lucas Ratliff
Lucas Ratliff, Reporter
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