"The National Council shared that they chose MHANKYSWOH because they have certified more than 13,000 individuals in three years to identify, understand, and respond to symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges."
Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio (MHANKYSWOH) Selected as the 2023 Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Organization of the Year
Cincinnati, OH (May 1, 2023): Each year, the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, the largest behavioral health organization in the country, recognizes the extraordinary work and commitment of Mental Health First Aid community members by distributing awards to influential organizations, instructors, and partners who have been instrumental in supporting the mission of Mental Health First Aid. This year, MHANKYSWOH was awarded the Organization of the Year after reviewing applications from across the country.
MHANKYSWOH Executive Director Liz Atwell shared, “We are so appreciative of this recognition and to be in the company of so many organizations who understand and value the important role training like Mental Health First Aid provides.”
Eight members of the project, including Director Atwell, traveled to the MHFA Summit on Sunday, April 30, 2023, at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California, where they accepted the award. This one-day event for 600-700 MHFA Instructors and Coordinators from all over the United States serves as an opportunity to energize, learn, improve skills, and celebrate each other.
The National Council shared that they chose MHANKYSWOH because they have certified more than 13,000 individuals in three years to identify, understand, and respond to symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges. They have trained over 120 new MHFA instructors to teach the classes and they worked with more than 300 organizations that hosted MHFA courses. Some of these included the Cleveland Clinic, a dozen universities, the statewide library, the Ohio Head Start Association, and numerous K-12 schools. MHANKYSWOH shared that they are especially proud that those certified are from underserved communities (ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+, rural, people with disabilities, older adults, Peer Supporters, First Responders, college age and youth). Eighty-two of the eighty-eight counties in Ohio have had at least one person trained in MHFA through the efforts of this dedicated team.
This success would not have happened without partners who funded numerous MHFA projects since early 2020. The Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (OHMAS) is the main funding source that financed this globally recognized, evidence-based training. OHMAS will have invested just under $4 million to train 22,000 Ohioans over a five-year period.
A recent attendee shared her views on the class and why it is so important, especially in today’s world. She shared “My MHFA training experience was empowering. The training was interactive, engaging, and non-judgmental. I encourage all to take advantage of learning how we all can do more in this space.”
About Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
Mental Health First Aid, an evidence-based program adopted by over twenty countries, is a rigorous training that teaches individuals to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The activity-based training helps participants learn to respond to an individual in need using the five-step ALGEE action plan. This includes: Assessing for risk of suicide or harm, Listening nonjudgmentally,Giving reassurance and information, Encouraging appropriate professional help, and Encouraging self-help and other support strategies.
More than 2.7 million people across the country have been certified in Mental Health First Aid.
For more information or to see if your organization qualifies to host an MHFA training for 30 attendees, please visit Mental Health First Aid Ohio (ohiomhfa.org).
About Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio (MHANKYSWOH)
Mental Health America is a private, non-profit organization serving individuals, families, professionals, lay persons, and communities in Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio. We are committed to preserving and strengthening the mental wellness of all individuals. We pride ourselves on educating the community with current research, best practice prevention techniques, and treatment and recovery options.
About the MHFA Collaborative
Founded in 2019, the MHFA Collaborative is a group of passionate organizations, instructors, advocates, and certified Mental Health First Aiders who envision MHFA training in every corner of Ohio. The Project Team includes nine staff members and 125 contracted instructors in the MHFA Instructor Network who work throughout Ohio.
About Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
The mission of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is to provide statewide leadership of a high-quality mental health and addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery system that is effective and valued by all Ohioans.