Mental health training program for first responders goes virtual in Maryland

Training that can better equip first responders to handle some of the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis is being offered online in Maryland.

The program, called Mental Health First Aid, can help police, firefighters and medics better recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance abuse in others, so they can respond appropriately.

The six-and-a-half-hour training program can be completed virtually through a mix of live instruction and self-paced learning.

Those who finish earn national certification.

“We encourage all our first responders to take part in this critical training, so they may not only help connect those in need to appropriate care, but also help reduce the stress they may encounter while responding to a crisis,” said Maryland Department of Health Secretary Robert Neall.

In 2008, Maryland became the first state in the U.S. to offer Mental Health First Aid training, adapting its program from one offered in Australia.

Since then, more than 40,000 people in Maryland have completed the program.

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Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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