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BENNINGTON — Individuals and groups interested in learning how to identify a mental health crisis and respond to someone in need can now access Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training through United Counseling Service (UCS) of Bennington County. The next training will take place virtually on March 28 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration for the training is $55 per person. Funds are available for those who need help covering the registration fee, as well as discounted group pricing.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a set of tools that anyone can use in the event of witnessing someone experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. Studies show that people who complete MHFA training are better equipped to help someone in distress by connecting them with appropriate resources, show increased empathy and reduced stigma, and use the tools they learn to help manage their own mental well-being. According to a case study of Montefiore Hudson Valley Collaborative (MHVC), a community-based health care organization, 95 percent of staff who completed MHFA training believe that the training helped them to better assess the needs of someone in crisis. MHFA training is also used by police departments to help officers better communicate in and effectively deescalate sensitive situations.

UCS also offers MHFA training for groups by request. Contact Bob Weigers at 802-442-5491 or email rwiegers@ucsvt.org to request a training or for more information.

United Counseling Service (UCS) is a private, non-profit community mental health center that has been an essential part of Bennington County’s integrated healthcare system since 1958. For more information visit www.ucsvt.org.


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