A lot can happen in one year, and that rings true when talking about the Chelsea Hospital Mental Health Awareness and Training (MHAT) program. Over the past year, we have made great strides toward meeting the goals we set at the beginning of this journey.
We have successfully launched youth-led anti-stigma campaigns in Manchester (Manchester Matters), Chelsea (Take it srsly), and Stockbridge school districts, with Dexter and Grass Lake aiming to launch next year. We also celebrated Mental Health Month in May for the first time since receiving the grant. Our activities, which were highlighted in a recent Jackson TV interview, included partnering with the libraries in all five Healthy Towns to create mental health book displays and hosting the “Food and Your Mood” booth at the Chelsea Farmers Market.
In addition to the community activities, we met with more than 25 groups and organizations, with many stepping up to offer their facilities as mental health training locations. Stockbridge School District, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church (Chelsea), and St. Paul United Church of Christ (Chelsea) were the first to host these trainings, which allowed us to offer four in-person youth and/or adult Mental Health First Aid sessions, where participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health challenges and how to help someone experience a mental health challenge.
This September we have Dexter District Library, Chelsea First United Methodist Church, and Grass Lake Lost Railway Museum stepping up to host “Question, Persuade, Refer” (QPR), a suicide prevention training. With the support of these wonderful hosting organizations, and continued access to our online training, we have trained more than 50 people so far this year.
As we head into year two with MHAT, we reflect on these efforts and the impact they have made in our communities. This program provides us with a way to address mental health by taking an active role in reducing the stigma related to mental health and by training community members on how to help those who may be experiencing a mental health challenge.
To join those who have taken steps to address mental health in the Chelsea area, we encourage you to participate in one of our free training courses and to be an active, informed voice in community conversations around mental health.