Starting Point Leads Mental Health First Aid Launch in Northeast FL

Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare launched the first Mental Health First Aid program in Nassau County, Florida in 2014 to train local residents to improve mental health literacy by helping them identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness. To date, over 2,880 individuals have been trained in Mental Health First Aid by Starting Point.

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour training certification course that teaches participants a five-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual. The certification program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.  Thorough evaluations in randomized controlled trials and a quantitative study have proved the CPR-like program effective in improving trainees’ knowledge of mental disorders, reducing stigma and increasing the amount of help provided to others.

Mental Health First Aid originated in 2001 in Australia under the direction of founders Betty Kitchener and Tony Jorm. To date, it has been replicated in 20 other countries worldwide, including Hong Kong, Scotland, England, Canada, Finland, and Singapore.