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DBHDS News Releases


“Train-the-Trainer” Events Certify Instructors to Teach Others to Recognize and
Respond to Individuals Experiencing Mental Health Crises


RICHMOND, VA – During the next two weeks, Virginia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) will host two “train-the-trainers” courses to certify instructors to teach Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) to others. One course is designed to respond to adults facing a mental health crisis and the second is focused on youth who are experiencing a mental health crisis. Both events are located in Richmond..

The purpose of MHFA is to teach interested members of the public to recognize warning signs and assist someone developing or currently experiencing a mental health crisis. Teachers, parents, school administrators, law enforcement, first responders, health care workers, military and veterans service organizations, clergy, family members of an individual with serious mental illness and interested members of the public can all take part in an 8-hour training to learn MHFA.

The 8-hour training is taught by members of local communities who have been certified though a 5-day train-the-trainer course. Typically, instructors are professionals in the mental health or related field, such as community services board staff, school nurses or counselors from private organizations. During the week, instructors in training learn how to assess a situation, appropriately and safely intervene, and help the person get needed mental health treatment. More information about the two upcoming train the trainer events are included below and media are invited to cover one or both events:

WHAT: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Adult Instructor Training


WHEN:  Monday, March 24 – Friday, March 28, 2014


WHERE:  Double Tree by Hilton Richmond-Midlothian, 1021 Koger Center Blvd, Richmond, VA 23235


MORE INFORMATION:  An estimated 341,773 adults in Virginia have a serious mental illness. Since October 2013, 53 individuals have been trained as instructors across the Commonwealth. Virginia plans to train up to 134 people to be instructors. Each trained MHFA instructor is required to conduct three separate MHFA trainings to interested members of the public during a calendar year to maintain certification as required by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Each class may have up to 30 participants.


WHAT: Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Youth Instructor Training


WHEN:  Monday, March 31 – Friday, April 4, 2014


WHERE:  Holiday Inn, 2000 Staples Mill Road, Richmond, VA 23230


MORE INFORMATION:  In Virginia, up to 143,724 children and adolescents have a serious emotional disturbance. The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is focused on adults that have daily contact with youth. These individuals can include teachers, school personnel, parents, faith based youth leaders and others. Virginia plans to train 90 trainers in Youth MHFA.




Virginia’s public behavioral health and developmental disabilities services system is comprised of 40 community services boards (CSBs) and 16 state facilities. DBHDS seeks to promote dignity, choice, recovery, and the highest possible level of participation in work, relationships, and all aspects of community life for individuals with mental illness, developmental disabilities or substance-use disorders.


1220 Bank Street P.O. Box 1797 Richmond, Virginia 23218-1797

Phone: (804) 786-3921 Fax: (804) 371-6638 Web site:



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