Mental Health First Aid

by Stephanie Maloney

Mental Health First AidLiving by “The Venice Beach Boardwalk” for the past twenty years has provided my family many opportunities to experience a wide spectrum of residents and visitors. As co-parents, we’ve all had to try to explain to the kids why there are people sleeping on the sidewalks and in the bushes no matter whose house they are at. They even have street people in Beverly Hills.

Trying to explain how somebody’s Dad was stabbed in a restaurant in Ventura is something of an impossible task. I am at a complete loss for words when faced with the inevitable “How can this happen, Mom?”  A letter in the LA Times, from David Eckhouse of Long Beach, led me to an organization that might provide some hope for forming a proper response and a proactive conduit for change.

“Since the National Council brought Mental Health First Aid to the United States a decade ago, more than 1 million individuals have been trained – including everyone from police officers, teachers, and employers to former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall and television personality Dr. Oz. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation partnered with the National Council to train 150,000 First Aiders.”

Eckhouse further explains, “Decompressing an agitated person and staving an assault is an often-performed task that provides a valuable community service”

This is exactly the kind of training that all responders should be given access to and our lawmakers should hear from us about making that happen.

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