New Development Surrounds HOTBHN Mental Health First Aid Program

WACO, TX – There is a new Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Outreach Worker for the Heart of Texas Behavioral Health Network (HOTBHN) community-based program. Missy Schutza is vested in ensuring the people of our six-county service know its value.

“I previously worked in the public school system with middle school and high school-age students for the past 18 years, during which time I became aware of the need for mental health awareness,” Schutza said. “I also have lived experience with a close family member struggling with mental illness that led to attempted suicide. Due to these reasons, I am passionate about increasing awareness of Mental Health First Aid.”

Mental Health First Aid enables people who complete the certification, which is good for three years, to be first responders before first responders arrive.

“MHFA teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders, giving you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to appropriate care,” Schutza said.

“Training people who do not have a mental health background and how to assist someone experiencing a mental health challenge is vital. It is important to have a plan to aid someone early on in a mental health crisis. The sooner you can aid someone experiencing a mental health challenge, the better the outcome. Recovery is possible.”

Schutza added that HOTBHN had conducted seventeen MHFA certifications over the past year, with 130 community members earning certifications and 135 school employees over the past year. She stresses that educators and education support staff can get certified free of charge. However, anyone signing up for the course must complete the entire course, which can be done in three different ways.

“You can participate in an 8-hour in-person training, you can participate in a virtual online training, or we also offer a blended training. In the blended training, you receive part of the 8-hour training online and the latter half in person,” Schutza said.

For more information, please get in touch with Missy Schutza at (254) 652-7135.

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