I became a Mental Health First Aid instructor because I understand the struggle with mental health. As a teen I suffered from the pangs of guilt resulting from childhood trauma, which led to bouts of depression, suicidal thoughts and self-injury. I received the certification to deliver the adult curriculum. I hope to receive the certification for Teen Mental Health instructor as well!
Anita D Russell,
Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor
“On a mission to make Mental Health First Aid as common as CPR.”
During Mental Health Month 2018 I enrolled in the Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training course offered through Steel Smiling. I had never heard of Mental Health First Aid; however, once I realized what it was all about, I understood its dire necessity. MFHA is also how I got introduced to Julius Boatwright, Founding CEO of Steel Smiling, and all-around amazing human being. So between the training and Julius, the trajectory of my life got a new bend. Flash forward to 2019 when I received an invitation to attend the training to become an MFHA Certified Instructor. So, here I am.
On a personal level, there are three key reasons why I decided to go down the path of becoming a Mental Health First Aid instructor and bringing this information into the community.
- The negativity and the stigma associated with mental health and mental illness is pervasive across society and needs to change.
- In certain communities, a somewhat checkered racial history has created an air of mistrust, preventing people from seeking help. (Think Tuskegee 626, Henrietta Lacks or Medical Apartheid.)
- I’ve had first-hand personal experience being in a state of compromised mental health.
Get involved and help spread the movement in your community.
Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to proactively identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in your community.
Greetings! My name is Anita D Russell. I’m the founder of SOAR Coaching Academy of Pittsburgh. I am looking for a cohort of individuals to complete Mental Health First Aid Training in the city of Pittsburgh.
Working with Steel Smiling Pittsburgh founder, Julius Boatwright, I am searching for a group of 25 individuals who (1) believe there is a need for greater public mental health awareness, (2) agree that myths and stigmas associated with mental health need to be busted and (3) are willing to contribute to improving mental health knowledge and skills for first responders. This is a profound need and we have the tools to provide the right knowledge and skills.
By the way, Mental Health First Aid Training offers sessions focused on youth and adults.
YES, I want to take the Mental Health First AID Training to serve the community!