50 employees of Nunez Community College in Chalmette have completed Mental Health First Aid training through National Alliance on Mental Illness St. Tammany.
The training equips participants to recognize when an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis or is at risk of a mental health crisis, teaches how to de-escalate a mental health crisis, and provides a list of local and national resources to provide professional help. Course completers received a three-year, nationally recognized certification as Mental Health First Aiders.
Nunez Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Tonia Loria arranged the NAMI training for Nunez employees in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We know that this past year has brought unprecedented stress and isolation for so many students and their families. NAMI has a long history of supporting mental health and we believe this training will help our faculty and staff assist anyone who comes to us in a time of crisis with kindness, confidence, and tools to help get people to the assistance that they need,” said Loria.
Nunez’s training was broken into two eight-hour sessions with 30 employees receiving training in a virtual session on March 30 and another 20 receiving in-person training on April 9 on the Nunez campus.
Krissy Kling, an AmeriCorps member and Mental Health First Aid Coordinator for NAMI St. Tammany, participated in both the virtual and on-campus Nunez training sessions. For the on-campus training, she was accompanied by co-instructor Susan Norwood, a retired teacher, LPC, and MHFA trainer who also serves as the board president of NAMI New Orleans.
“I was thrilled about the idea of training Nunez Community College in Mental Health First Aid,” said Kling. “As a recent college graduate, I understand the immense amount of pressure and anxiety many college students feel. I know the students will be grateful to know that the faculty, staff, and professors at Nunez are trained to understand and respond to their mental health needs.”
During the Mental Health First Aid training, several Nunez instructors shared anecdotes about helping students experiencing mental health crises over the course of their careers. Afterward, they expressed assurance about receiving professional training to apply in future scenarios.
“As someone who battles anxiety himself, I feel obligated to help those who trust and confide in me,” said Nunez sociology instructor Charles Miller. “NAMI successfully supplemented my own knowledge of mental health awareness to better identify students in distress and follow the proper channels to get them the help they need. With this training, I hope the Nunez community will better serve our students by living up to our mission of supporting their success and personal growth.”
Registration for the Summer and Fall 2021 semesters at Nunez is open now at Nunez.edu.