Mental health first aid class teaches life-saving tips

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BOISE — The Speedy Foundation, a local group whose mission is suicide prevention and ending the stigma around mental health, held a one day, eight-hour mental health first aid class for adults.

"I want to be able to help people, and I want to have a plan when there's a situation," said attendee Allie Gooding.

Allie Gooding is retired and just wants to help others in her community, while other students work in the medical field. This course does not make them a mental health professional, but it adds another tool to their toolbox for communicating effectively for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

"We use an acronym that's ALGEE, that's assessing for risk of suicide, listening non-judgmentally to not let their own, personal biases interfere with that, give reassurance and information, and encourage the person to seek professional help or to utilize some self-help strategies," said co-instructor Jane Francis.

The course uses lectures, videos, and interactive lessons to help students visualize what signs and symptoms to work for.

"We'll do some case scenarios, we have a lot of examples of somebody who's in ad depressed state, somebody who's in a suicidal state and we'll have the group engage with each other about what would we do here, what are the helpful things to say," said Francis.

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