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DULUTH - It's easy to stop and help someone who's physically hurt, suffering from a scraped knee or a bruised elbow but how do you help someone who appears fine on the outside but is struggling on the inside?
“This really helped me understand better what's happening inside the person that has the mental illness,” Assistant UMD Professor Jill Klingner, said.
Klingner was recently awarded a grant to organize a program in Mental Health and First Aid.
It is a certification that is helping the public identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance disorders.
“The program really focuses on risk factors and initial signs of disorders and helping people provide that support initially before family support before financial support or even community support could kick in,” Klingner said.
It's not just something being addressed in the Twin Ports.
“The other thing too that's really linked to this is the community safety and making sure that people with mental illnesses get the help that they need when they need it, early on so that we don't have some of the tragedies we've heard about across the country,”Klingner said.
In fact, Presidednt Obama brought it up in a gun control speech following the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.
“We will be talking to people in organizations and the community about bringing it to them, brining the training out into the community,” Roxanne Richards, a program advisor, said.
Experts say an estimated 27 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 have diagnosable mental health problems.
And organizers believe this program might just be the start to changing the twin ports community one step at a time.
“They come out with the idea of people with mental health illnesses really aren’t any different than me but i can help them get help sooner,” said Klingner.
The next certification training at UMD will be offered May 22-23, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. For more information email Jill Klingner at firstname.lastname@example.org.