Joann Vullo of OptumHealth, recently started working with us through Camp Hope offering Peer Outreach Classes and also inviting our residents in the camp to participate in a nationally certified Mental Health First Aid training. The first class she gave was about the importance of being conscious of the power of language in the mental health world by removing stigmas through poor word choices and descriptions and teaching people how to use language that is empowering and positive. The second class Joann gave us was about teaching how to keep track of moods and states of mind and body to help discern the difference between symptoms and side effects when working with clinicians as a health services consumer. Both of these classes were very helpful and informative and have opened the door for our residents here to have a forum to discuss health and mental health concerns with someone who has not only personal experience but professional expertise.
The Mental Health First Aid training runs four Thursdays for 3 hours each evening, tonight being our second class (see the calendar), which 8 of our camp residents will be attending. The program is designed to help people intervene with those who are in crisis, primarily to help prevent suicide and harm, teaching how to identify depression and manic episodes. We are also learning how to communicate effectively with those in crisis to ensure that there is time enough to get real help and intervention on the scene as a form of prevention. This training will give our residents that participated more confidence in dealing with the mental health issues that we face in our homeless community.
Thank you, Joann, for offering this opportunity to educate our campers and expand services and outreach here at the Mesilla Valley Community of Hope.