UW-EXTENSION: Some first aid for your mental health |


May is recognized for mental health awareness month. It has been observed as such in the United States since 1949, with the awareness campaign started by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, later known as the National Association for Mental Health, and now as Mental Health America. The month is used to promote mental health and mental illness information, raise awareness, reduce stigma and reach across the country.

Mental health in our society has been a focus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in regards to isolation, socialization, bereavement, and other factors. The importance of mental health will continue well beyond a month-long campaign. One way to gain a better understanding of the subject is to seek knowledge and reliable information.


Mental Health First Aid is an internationally taught, research-based training that has been licensed and adapted in more than 25 countries around the world.

United States Mental Health First Aid training teaches adults how to recognize and understand the signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use disorders. The training teaches basic skills that can be used to reach out and provide initial support, as well as how we can offer support and help connect adults to additional support and resources.

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Numbers in the United States

According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly one in five adults in the United States will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. Half of all mental health problems begin by age 14, and the average time from onset of symptoms to intervention is eight to 10 years.

Additionally, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 10 to 34 and the fourth leading cause of death between the ages of 35 and 44.

Having more community members throughout Kenosha County with skills and knowledge to notice and help others can result in a ripple effect of a healthier Kenosha overall.

Action plan

The Mental Health First Aid training teaches us to understand and apply the ALGEE action plan:

  • A – Assess the risk of suicide or harm
  • L – Listen without judgment
  • G – Reassure and inform
  • E – Encourage appropriate professional help
  • E – Encourage self-help and other support strategies

An upcoming Mental Health First Aid training will be held on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Kenosha County Center Building (19600 75th Street, Bristol, WI).

This training is open to all adult members of the community. It is offered free to participants, through the WiROSE project funded by the UW-Madison Division of Extension grant.

For more details and to register for Adult Mental Health First Aid training on June 21, please visit https://go.wisc.edu/9bn850 by June 14.

For general questions or inquiries about other group training opportunities, contact Mary Metten at [email protected] or 262-857-1946.

Mary Metten is a Health and Wellness Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Extension Division.

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