UW Extension To Host Mental Health First Aid Training

University of Wisconsin–Madison Division of Extension is offering virtual and in-person educational programs to help the Wisconsin agricultural community identify and respond to a variety of behavioral health challenges. The next virtual Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for the agricultural community is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Pre-registration and approximately two hours of self-paced, online pre-work are required to participate in this training. For more information and to register for this free program, go to https://go.wisc.edu/85h93s. Please register by April 6 to allow time for completing the pre-work.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly one in five adults lives with a mental illness. Research shows that suicide rates are higher within the rural and agricultural communities. The stigma around mental health challenges and thoughts of suicide is prevalent in our rural and farming communities. MHFA for the agricultural community is an effort to eliminate this stigma. 

Just as CPR teaches you how to help someone having a heart attack, MHFA covers how to help someone experiencing a mental health challenge including, but not limited to, depression and anxiety, panic attacks, substance misuse, and suicidal thoughts. The program gives participants the skills and confidence to provide initial support and respond in both crisis and non-crisis situations. MHFA is a program that teaches participants how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of these challenges. 

Instructors for the April 12 session are Joy Kirkpatrick, Farm Succession Outreach Specialist for the UW–Madison Division of Extension, and Cath Tease, Health and Well-Being Educator, Manitowoc County Extension. Joy is currently leading the Farm/Ranch Stress Assistance Network funded project for Wisconsin and Cath is active in county-wide substance use and mental health coalition efforts. 

If you would like to arrange an Adult MHFA training for your agricultural business or organization, complete this short interest form: https://go.wisc.edu/46dp5f. For more information, contact Joy at [email protected] or 608-263-3485.

Funding for these training programs is provided by the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center: Engaging Programs to Support Producer Well-being (NCFRSAC), USDA/NIFA award number 2020-70028-32728 and the Wisconsin Rural Opioid and Stimulant Engagement project funding by SAMHSA.