Mental Health First Aid course from a faith perspective

February 22, 2013
Santa Paula News

Ventura County Public Health will be offering Mental Health First Aid “from a faith perspective”, a 12-hour certification course to help participants better understand mental illness and respond to psychiatric emergencies.

This training is free and is open to the entire community. The training will be held on Monday, March 11, Thursday, March 14, Monday, March 18 and Thursday, March 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 121 Davis St. in Santa Paula. Pastor Ron Urzua and Dr. Pastor Freda Wiggins of Community Coalition for Stronger Families and the Mental Health & Spirituality Collaborative will be presenting the course.

Mental Health First Aid is a ground breaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. Attendees will learn:

• The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis and psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury.

• How to use a five-step action plan to assess a crisis situation and select and implement appropriate interventions.

• The realities and prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in our communities.

• How to access appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources to help someone with a mental health problem.

Attendees of the faith trek receive the same training, information, and curriculum offered in the standard Mental Health First Aid training. They are also offered the opportunity to contextualize the training and ask questions about responding to a person with a potential mental health crisis within the unique spiritual and cultural dynamics of a local church or faith community. Mental Health First Aid as taught from a “faith perspective” does not seek to theologize or proselytize attendees but does affirm the vital role of faith and prayer for persons of faith who are seeking treatment for a mental health disorder.

To register for this valuable free training, send an email to Arieta Faiivae, For more information, contact Pastor Ron Urzua, (805) 236-3880 or email

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