Mental health awareness can be a difficult topic to discuss, but Zionsville resident Darby Casady wants to help remove the stigma and address ways community members can support each other and identify the signs of mental illness. She will facilitate a Mental Health First Aid course from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22 at Brick Street Inn.
“I’ve had 20 years of corporate training experience,” Casady said. “Like we all do, I fell into this. My second son lives with a mental health condition. He works, plays guitar, paints and is healthy. I started wondering why wasn’t I using my training and development skills in the mental health field?”
Casady became an active member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness. She had previously attended the program and wanted to bring it to Zionsville.
“Working in corporations, I’ve seen how they handle mental health issues,” she said. “For the most part, it’s not good. I decided to get trained to facilitate mental health first aid for adults.”
The program will focus on a five-step action plan called ALGEE.
“The steps are as follows: Assist and assess for suicide risk, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance, encourage professional help and encourage self-help,” Casady said. “We’re really shy about asking if a person is thinking of suicide and if they have a plan. That should be our first question if we see someone in distress.”
She hopes the program not only removes the stigma but helps those without mental health issues to understand those affected.
“I got involved because of my passion for educating people about mental health issues,” Casady said. “There is so much stigma associated with mental health. I think we need to educate each other about it.”
The class is $65 and includes lunch and all materials. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.