Hundreds Trained in Mental Health First Aid

In 2015, Fairview’s Mental Health First Aid courses gave hundreds the tools and training necessary to aid a person in a mental health crisis, addressing a growing need in our communities.

“We need to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. This illness is as real as cancer and heart disease,” says Ann Ellison, director of Fairview Community Health. “By educating our communities, we can identify and treat mental illness faster.”

A growing need

Mental health was a common area of need in our 2012 Community Health Needs Assessments—a trend that only continued in our 2015 assessments.

Fairview brought Mental Health First Aid, an evidence-based program of the National Council for Behavioral Health, to our communities in response to that need. Participants were taught how to best interact with a person in crisis and connect them with help when they need it most.

“I learned that half the people who seek help for depression delay seeking help for eight years or more,” says Patrick Belland, president of Fairview Ridges Hospital, who recently completed the training. “We can do better!”

Hundreds certified, more needed

Fairview’s Mental Health First Aid courses, provided free of charge thanks to funding from donors to Fairview Foundation, ran 17 times in 2015. Specialized program materials focused on the mental health needs of youth, adults or older adults.

Four Fairview employees were certified to lead the trainings, while a select number of course offerings were held in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Dakota County Public Health.

The program certified 320 people, both Fairview employees and concerned residents, in Mental Health First Aid in 2015. As the need continues to grow, plans call for more classes in 2016.

“As a hospital president, I hear concerns from our caregivers, who are seeing mental illness affect an increasing number of our patients,” Patrick says. “The more people who become certified in Mental Health First Aid, the more we can help people and our society to heal and live fuller lives.”

Register for an upcoming Mental Health First Aid course:

Adult Mental Health First Aid
Feb. 22, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Fairview Southdale Hospital, Edina, MN
Click here for more info or to register 

Youth Mental Health First Aid*
Jan. 22, 5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. AND Sat. Jan 23, 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
(*Must be able to attend both days)
Atonement Lutheran Church, Bloomington, MN
Click here for more info or to register

Questions? Contact Tiffany Utke, 612-706-4566 or

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