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Mental Health First Aid Training given to IUPD officers is being offered to the public

Oct 11, 2019

Every sworn officer of the Indiana University Police Department has a new skill: Mental Health First Aid training.

Now the public can become certified in Mental Health First Aid, too.

IUPD Maj. Laury Flint, director for community engagement and threat assessment, will serve as an instructor for the class at 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 15, in Poplars 100 on the IU Bloomington campus.

“People rally for anyone battling a physical illness, but they back away from those experiencing a mental illness,” Flint said.

IU Public Safety and Institutional Assurance partnered with Healthy IU to host the upcoming mental health training. Healthy IU is an employee wellness program that provides health screenings and workshops on all IU campuses.

Flint said this training class will be the first general adult version she has taught. The public safety version has been used to train IUPD officers around the state. Several sessions took place over the summer, and an additional class will be held in November for officers who were unable to attend the previous sessions.

The general adult version will be available and open to anyone: students, faculty, staff and Bloomington community members.

The training will be eight hours long, with plenty of short breaks and an hour for lunch. Flint will co-instruct the class with IUPD Lt. James Vastag using videos, scenarios and lecture material provided by Mental Health First Aid.

The training course teaches participants how to recognize mental health and substance abuse illnesses. Since it started in 2001, the Mental Health First Aid class has taught over 2 million people across the United States.

“No one will be a therapist after the training,” Flint said. “But everyone will be trained on how to break the stigma surrounding mental illness. People can and do recover.”

Flint said that every person who goes through training will be certified in Mental Health First Aid for three years. The only cost to attend is the $18.95 fee for a manual the participants get to keep.

IUPD badge
The public safety version of Mental Health First Aid has been used to train IUPD officers around the state.Photo by James Brosher, Indiana University

Those attending will learn how to increase the likelihood of a positive interaction with those struggling with their mental health or substance abuse, Flint said.

The acronym “ALGEE” encourages people to:

  • Assess the situation.
  • Listen.
  • Give reassurance.
  • Encourage appropriate help.
  • Encourage coping skills and self-help.

Flint has almost 40 years of law enforcement experience. She began her career as a student in the IU Police Academy in 1980 and has since held numerous positions such as patrol officer, uniform lieutenant and chief of police. She said she has shifted her focus to help spread mental health awareness.

“I think it’s very valuable,” Flint said about the new training. “People with mental illness are our neighbors, our friends, our family. They’re living with us, and they want to be contributing members of society.”

Sign up through IU Environmental Health and Safety Training.

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