GRANGEVILLE — “With our world the way it has been and all the needs in society, especially within the past year, this is perfect timing to learn more about mental health issues,” Idaho County University of Idaho Extension Agency Kirstin Jensen said.

To that end, Jensen and another extension agent will be co-conducting a seminar March 12 and 13.

Mental Health First Aid, a skills-based training course about mental health and substance abuse issues, will run Friday, March 12, 3 to 7 p.m., and Saturday, March 13, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Must attend both days for certification; cost is $10. This first class will be in-person. Additional classes, based on interest, can include virtual, blended or in-person.

Jensen said she was asked, along with about 15 other county extension agents across the state, to be trained in the course and then offer it to the public.

“This will be my first time teaching it, and I am really looking forward to hearing feedback on the course,” she said. “We will discuss mental health disorders and learn how to assess a situation,” and gear a person toward the help he or she needs.

The program is originally from Australia and is meant to give a person the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance abuse problem and help them connect to the appropriate professional care.

The course is for adults and Jensen said she is willing to offer it more times during the year as people request. Class size maximum is 10 persons. It is meant for community members, health professionals, business owners, law enforcement, faith leaders and more.

The program is endorsed by the National Council for Behavioral Health and will include how to apply the ALGEE plan: Assess for risk or suicide harm; Listen non-judgmentally; Give reassurance and information; Encourage appropriate professional help; Encourage self-support and other support strategies.

To sign up for the March 12-13 class or inquire about additional classes, e-mail kdjensen@uidaho.edu or call 208-983-2667.

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