MIAMI COUNTY — In the month following the outcry over the Florida school shootings, Tri-County Board of Mental Health reminds the public they are in the local schools working with officials to help identify students in crisis throughout the year.
In an interview on Feb. 22, Director of Community Resource Development Brad Reed shared how in the days following the Feb. 14 school shooting that killed 17 people, Tri-County Board of Mental Health officials were in three schools — Upper Valley Career Center, Tipp City Schools, and Fairlawn Local School in Shelby County, conducting their eight-hour Mental Health First Aid course.
“The school shooting in Florida really reopened that whole discussion about what we are doing about mental health, especially for kids — what we’re doing is training lots of school officials,” Reed said.
Reed said certain events like the Florida school shooting brings the conversation to the foreground, but he said the Mental Health First Aid class has been offered to the public for four years, including a youth-specific course.
“We are doing training because there is a lot of pressure to better understand the emotional needs of children and the general population,” Reed said.
Reed said the foundation of the course is to be able to recognize the signs of someone in crisis or who is having a developing mental health condition and intervene appropriately and guide them to professional help.
“Just giving people that level of tools is often enough to identify, intervene and refer somebody to an assessment and treatment plan earlier than what would have happened otherwise,” he said.
Director of Clinical Services and Evaluation Kim McGuirk said today’s population is under a lot more stress and is showing it in public places.
“So when they are having a breakdown or anxiety attack, it’s usually in public places now and people aren’t sure how to deal with it,” McGuirk said.
The Tri-County Board of Mental Health offers the classes free of charge. To find out more information about the class and other services Tri-County Board of Mental Health offers, visit them online at www.tcbmds.org or call 335-7727.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews