The Loudoun County Department of Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services (MHSADS) will offer a free Adult Mental Health First Aid course at the Middleburg Library on July 11 and July 12.
The course is available for anyone 18 years or older who would like to learn how to help others dealing with mental health-related crises or problems. It will introduce participants to common risk factors and warning signs of mental illness, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and schizophrenia, according to organizers.
According to MHSADS, certified instructors will conduct two versions of the program: one for general adults and one for adults who interact with youth.
Participants will learn a five-step action plan to support someone developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or emotional crisis, denoted by the acronym ALGEE: assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance and information, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage self-help and other support strategies. They will learn how to apply this process to situations such as someone suffering a panic attack, engaging with a suicidal person or assisting someone who has overdosed.
The course will comprise two sessions taking place from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on July 11 and July 12 at 101 Reed Street in Middleburg. More information and program registration can be found at loudoun.gov/mhfirstaid.