LEBANON COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – A mental health first aid class in Lebanon County has been so successful it’s expanding. The class is offered about once a month at WellSpan Philhaven’s training center in Mount Gretna. There’s also a more specialized suicide prevention class as well. Between the two, last year, about three thousand people took part.
“It fell on us to help control her when she would have her breakdowns and I often didn’t feel like we were able to help, because we were put in a position where we didn’t have the skills,” said Melissa Kulbitsky.
So Kulbitsky decided to learn those skills to help her family member, with their mental health issues. She says, she often times didn’t know the best way to respond to certain outbursts. That’s where WellSpan’s mental health first aid class came in.
“There’s always options and that’s what we spend time learning, what those tools are that can help. It’s kind of like those breaths and compressions. We want to help in that immediate need, hoping that person can respond,” said instructor Jayne Miller.
The class is eight hours, an invaluable investment that Kulbitsky said helped her better understand what her loved one is going through.
“You have to kind of become that port in the storm and offer them the comfort instead of just seeing the symptoms and saying, I’m reacting anger with anger,” said Kulbitsky.
This class is a combination of presentations, videos, and role playing. It’s free for anyone, teachers, caregivers, and first responders. The instructors will travel to different companies around the Midstate to teach the mental health first aid class and the more specialized suicide prevention training class, both of which are nationally accredited. All you have to do is sign-up online.