SIUE offers mental health first aid classes for prospective pharmacists

Illinois

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. – Recognizing those early signs and symptoms of a mental health condition requires the right set of tools and skillset.

“Our goal was to bring it to our students,” said Kelly Gable, SIUE School of Pharmacy Professor. “So, every student that comes through our school of pharmacy is trained in mental health first aid.”

In 2019, Gable attended a mental health first aid train-the-trainer course and soon began teaching students.

“Going through the training and being able to utilize it myself is great,” said Wendy Dodd, a fourth-year SIUE Pharmacy student. “It also empowers me to teach others, even patients that may come into the community pharmacy about self-help.”

The training covers depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

Using the newly learned skills to apply the MHFA action plan when faced with someone dealing with mental health or substance abuse problems.

“Health care providers should be trained in CPR as they are and also first aid,” Gable said. “And it takes you through those steps and raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of a mental health condition but also what happens in a crisis.

This marks the second class of pharmacy students getting mental health first aid training as they work to become pharmacists and head into the patient care field.

“Mental Health First Aid isn’t just for health care providers,” Dodd said. “It is for everyone.”

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