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Naperville’s St. Thomas the Apostle Church offers mental health first aid course

Mental health crises in today’s world are probably just as common as physical emergencies like heart attacks. Would you be able to recognize such a crisis or know how to help a person struggling with a mental illness or a substance use disorder?

“Mental Health First Aid: CPR for the Brain,” a course offering valuable information about what to do in such situations, will be offered from 9 am to 4 pm Saturday, Aug. 13, at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, 1500 Brookdale Road, Naperville. The same course will be repeated from 9 am to 4 pm Friday, Sept. 23, at the same location.

The program includes tips on how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.

Participants also will learn basic skills needed to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and to help connect that individual with appropriate care.

After completing a two-hour, self-paced online class, First Aiders will participate in a six-hour in person instructor-led class. Instructors include Diane McQueen and Trina Lueckhoff, members of the Linden Oaks Hospital Mental Health First Aid Consortium that is sponsoring the course. Linden Oaks Hospital is a partner of Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare.

Emphasizing the importance of such knowledge is a story Deacon Joseph Cuzzone, a staff member at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, tells. He was loading a box into his car when he noticed a woman waving her arms, trying to attract his attention.

Then Deacon Cuzzone heard the driver of a package delivery truck nearby screaming into his phone, “If she’s home when I get home, I’ll kill her!” And the yellowing continued.

Deacon Cuzzone recalled his training from a mental health first aid course he’d attended at St. Thomas Church and immediately notified the police who were able to get help for the angry package delivery driver, thus helping the driver and defusing a dangerous situation.

Referring to the course on mental health first aid, Deacon Cuzzone commented, “What I learned prepared me to know what to do, to do it quickly, and to seek help for someone in severe emotional distress.”

He added, “Caring for each other today includes knowing how to help in these situations that can occur without warning.”

Registration for the August session of “Mental Health First Aid: CPR for the Brain” is required by Monday, Aug. 1, and is available at www.081322sthomas.eventbrite.com.

Registration for the September session of “Mental Health First Aid: CPR for the Brain” is required by Friday, Sept. 9, and is available at www.092322stthomas.eventbrite.com.

Cost of each program is $23.95.

Continuing Education Units also are available on both dates for LCPC/LPC, LCSW/LSW, LMFT and psychologists.

For more information about this mental health first aid program, contact Susan Kearney at [email protected] or (630) 355-8980, ext. 108

St. Thomas the Apostle, a parish of the Diocese of Joliet, strives to bear the Good News of God’s unconditional love to all generations through worship, faith formation, witness and service.

Organized in 1984, the St. Thomas faith community numbers more than 3,400 households of more than 10,750 people. Complete news and information on parish events, guest speakers and special programs is available at www.stapostle.org. For general parish information, call (630) 355-8980.

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