Chesterfield provides mental health class - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

Chesterfield provides mental health class

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CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) -

Newtown, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Creigh Deeds, bullying, suicide: mental health has been a topic of conversation throughout the nation and here at home in Virginia.

Now, a new program in Chesterfield is reaching out to residents, trying to give regular people the tools they need to help identify mental health warning signs. 

The program is funded with money from Gov. Bob McDonnell's 2014 budget and Mental Health First Aid initiative. 

"Our hope is that we are giving knowledge to the general population that, should they encounter someone that's having symptoms, whether they're mild symptoms or significant symptoms- that they can direct them to the right place to go and have the words and the vocabulary and the plan to help this person get the help they need," said Robin Jones, with Chesterfield County's Mental Health.

Think of the training like First Aid or CPR training. Experts say it's a first line of defense to save lives, and they hope they can get as many people trained as possible. The county is training its employees that work with the public, people like librarians and teachers. At the same time, they're offering the class to any county resident who wants to learn.

One class specializes in youth mental health issues, the other focus on adult mental health.

"It's not learning how to be a therapist or how to diagnose," said Jones. "It's more focusing on how to approach a person and how to listen without judgement. How to give reassurance and talk about resources without those people being able to get professional help as well as being about self help." 

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