NEWPORT — Sunny Naughton, Regional Prevention Partnerships Grant Coordinator out of Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, was recently named the Top Mental Health First Aid Trainer in Vermont alongside her frequent training partner, Lance Metayer.
The National Council of Behavioral Health gives out these honors based on number of trainings, attendees, and evaluations.
Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.
MHFA is described as the help you give someone, similar to CPR, before a professional can step in.
The training also offers ways to support those around us living with mental illness every day in hopes of avoiding a crisis situation.
Naughton has trained over 400 Northern Vermont community members in just two years, hosting over 30 training sessions in various sectors of the community including educational staff, human services, security, and college resident advisors.
The process to become a trainer is 40 hours in which students learn the materials as well as best practices for presenting from seasoned facilitators, take several written tests and present to classmates to be adjudicated.
Naughton is certified in both Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.
“I feel that everyone should take this training,” Naughton said. “While much of the information is likely already something someone is accustomed to, having the chance to see it laid out in a way that can allow us to think differently about how we interact with one another on a daily basis can be life-changing.”
Naughton went on to explain that you never know what someone else is experiencing, and a little extra kindness or offer of support can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Mental Health First Aid has been offered in Vermont through partnerships at NEKLS, Northern Vermont Regional Hospital, Northeast Kingdom Human Services and Vermont Care Partners.
The training is free of charge and can hold between 10 to 30 participants.
To learn more or to schedule a training for your community, workplace or extracurricular organization, email [email protected]