Classes teach first aid for mental health issues


A participant in one of the Mental Health First Aid USA classes held this year told class organizers how useful the information has been.

“The comment was that they have already utilized the training and felt more comfortable asking somebody if they were considering suicide,” said Donna Oeding of the Dubois County Health Partnership. “The person was not offended by the directness of the question, but really appreciated it.”

The health partnership is sponsoring classes next year at Memorial Hospital’s Medical Arts Building, 721 W. 13th St. Two sessions will span two days: from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 and 24, and on April 25 to 26. A one-day class will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 14.  The classes are for the adult version of mental health first aid, Oeding said. Volunteers Kim Dietz, Amy Dilger, Kara Glendening and Crista Linette have been trained and will lead the classes.

The classes will teach people how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem. Participants will learn general information about a variety of mental illnesses, like substance use disorders, depression and other mood disorders, such as anxiety disorders. They will also learn how to recognize them and how to respond to them.

“This is really good information to have out in the public,” said Oeding, who is administrative director of the Dubois County Health Department, a lead member of the partnership.

The partnership held three eight-hour sessions this year and 43 people participated. Comments received after the session have been good, Oeding said.

“We’ve received very positive comments about the content people are getting,” she said, “and the need to have this kind of training in our community.”

Partnership members agree. The organization has identified mental health as a local health concern.

“Members of the health partnership hope the Mental Health First Aid training will become ingrained in the community,” Oeding said, “and that classes will be offered on an ongoing basis.”

The class enrollment fee is $35 per person. The fee is reinvested in the program to pay for the manuals participants receive, other supplies and instructor training, Oeding said.

Class registration can be done at Questions can be directed to Oeding at or 812-481-7050.

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