United Way of the Midlands Free Mental Health Training Program

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Imagine, free mental health resources available to you and your family at work, school, or even church.

This will soon become a reality thanks to a new program introduced in the metro.

This is a partnership between United Way of the Midlands, Molina Healthcare and Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare.

The Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation has donated $25,000 to support UWM’s new Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) initiative for the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area.

The program will give groups hands-on training to spot the signs of mental health issues and respond appropriately.

According to UWM, updated research studies demonstrate that “mental health is one of the most important needs within the community, and statistics show that one in three people in Metro Omaha-Council Bluffs exhibits symptoms of chronic depression.

UWM CEO and President Shawna Forsberg champions the project, acknowledging that as the need for mental health services continues to grow, the stigma of seeking help remains.

“What we’re trying to do through this awareness campaign is to help people feel comfortable asking for help because it really could be any of us at any given time. of our lives that could use some help,” Forsberg said.

She added that people shouldn’t have to suffer in silence and while there are already great local resources doing this work, this program will expand the effort.

Between the pandemic, recent economic turmoil, violence and more, UWM recognizes that the community is under an incredible emotional strain.

“I think the isolation of the pandemic and the uncertainty has really caused problems…and of course the inflation issues are also causing problems for families. We have a lot of stressors in life, so the likelihood of struggling with mental health has increased,” Forsberg acknowledged.

And that’s why she believes mental health first aid is such a timely prevention tool.

Trained professionals from Region 6 Healthcare who have already had success in this field will deliver an eight-hour hybrid training to all kinds of groups.

Participants can come to courses in person or complete them virtually starting in July and in turn, businesses, organizations and all kinds of diverse groups will have essential resources in their own environment to solve a problem on the spot or at least connect their coworkers. in the right direction for help.

The training is 100% free and Forsberg said United Way of the Midlands hopes to raise $200,000 each year for the next three years to add more trainers and expand this service.

“I think there is a stigma attached to mental health and what we are trying to do through this awareness campaign is to help people feel comfortable asking for help because it really could be any of us at some point in our lives who could use some help,” Forsberg said.

The program is an eight-hour course that can be taken in person and virtually.

It is led by trained professionals and completely free.

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