Views from a Harlem-bound Green Line in Englewood on January 28, 2021. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

ENGLEWOOD — A one-day training session aiming to break down mental health stigmas is heading to Englewood this week.

Mental Health First Aid, a course certified by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, is being offered 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Friday at Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation, 815 W. 63rd St.

Neighbors can expect an in-depth, interactive training that teaches attendees to form a helpful plan of action when supporting someone experiencing an emotional or mental health crisis, or substance use problem. You can register here.

“We think people are weak if they have mental health conditions, but that’s simply not the case,” said James Burns, interim executive director at the Kennedy Forum Illinois, which is sponsoring the event.

“We need to look at it the same as physical health. It isn’t a moral failing, and it doesn’t mean that you’re weak or that you’ve done anything wrong. Mental health impacts everybody everywhere. It does not matter if you are a Black kid from the South Side or a white kid from Lincoln Park.”

A representative from Sertoma Centre, a community mental health and counseling provider in the south suburbs, will lead the eight-hour session.

“This is not about turning the person who completes the Mental Health First Aid training course into the clinician or the doctor,” Burns said. “The idea is that we’re able to turn [an attendee] into a lifeline. In some respects, they’re like a first responder. They see something happening and they can be there, help that person, then get to the professional help they need.”

Social distancing and COVID-19 protocols will be in place. 

For more information, neighbors can go here.

Credit: Greater Englewood Community Development Corporation

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Atavia Reed is a reporter for Block Club Chicago, covering the Englewood, Auburn Gresham and Chatham neighborhoods. Twitter @ataviawrotethis