Mental health workshops to prepare for disaster recovery

Disasters are undisputed stressful events for many people throughout the world, and the impact of psychological distress can be seen in impacted communities as well as in emergency responders. Presented by the UF/IFAS PIE Center, UF/IFAS Family Youth & Community Sciences (FYCS) and the Florida State Agricultural Response Team (SART), this training was designed to provide emergency responders, UF/IFAS extension agents, and community members who are active in natural disasters with the skills needed to address mental health needs and issues following disasters.  First aid programs like this aim to create mental health awareness and encourage proactive and informed decision making in individuals before, during, and after disasters. The goal is to help develop an understanding of mental health and how to support those with mental challenges. This goal of personal resiliency can potentially decrease community risks and vulnerabilty and enhance community resiliency to future disasters. Seven total trainings, funded by SART, will be held throughout Florida with one in each of the seven  Regional Domestic Security Task Force. Each training will take place over the course of two days, with twelve hours total, and participants will receive a Mental Health First Aid certification upon completion.

The first portion of the training will include Mental Health First Aid training, which is a course developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. The goal of this course is to provide attendees with an understanding of mental health, and how to support those with mental health challenges. More information about this training can be found at www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.  The instructor, Emily Johnson, is a faculty member in the department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences and is certified to teach Mental Health First Aid.

The second portion of training will focus on understanding needs of families and community members during a disaster, and how to best support individuals in the context of a disaster. The instructors will include Angie Lindsey and Heidi Radunovich, faculty members in the department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences at the University of Florida. Lindsey’s expertise is in disaster preparedness and recovery and Radunovich is a licensed psychologist working with mental health needs and gaps following disasters.

Learn more about the trainings below and register for the training nearest you.

Broward County - February 26 & 27 Suwannee County - March 4 & March 5 Marion County - April 23 & 24 Osceola County - April 30 & May 1