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Sun, Feb. 23

Local in Brief: First phase of mental health first aid, suicide intervention program complete

First phase of mental health first aid, suicide intervention program complete

Yavapai Justice and Mental Health Coalition Project Manager Nancy Gardner has rolled out the first phase of Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office’s mental health first aid and suicide intervention program.

Launched in October, the new program provides community members throughout Yavapai County with the tools to recognize mental health crises and to refer someone in crisis to the proper local resources.

“A critical component for first responders and school personnel is working with our community and youth to provide resources and help to those who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem,” said Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office (YCSO) spokesperson Dwight D’Evelyn. To get the program started, YCSO worked with the National Council of Behavioral Health to host two instructor courses in February, certifying 30 instructors in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA).

Fifteen of those instructors are with various schools throughout Yavapai County and will now provide the eight-hour block of youth MHFA to school personnel and others who work directly with youth in the county, D’Evelyn said.

The other fifteen instructors are officers from eight law enforcement agencies in Yavapai County, as well as an instructor from adult probation and an instructor from Spectrum Healthcare Group. These instructors will work together to provide adult MHFA training within their agencies and to other first responders, D’Evelyn said.

The next phase for Gardner will be to collaborate with the stakeholders within Yavapai County to arrange training for law enforcement/emergency services personnel and the Yavapai County School Districts, D’Evelyn said. The eight-hour training will teach how to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and identify the resources available.

The program is supported by a $375,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Those who are with a school or organization that works with youth (ages 12 and older) or is a first responder (such as law enforcement, EMS, or firefighter) and would like to host a training or have questions may contact Nancy Gardner at or 928-554-8593.

Climate change presentation set for March 31

Brian Petersen, a professor at Northern Arizona University and chair of the City of Flagstaff Sustainability Commission will present, “Why We Disagree About Climate Change,” at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31, at Prescott United Methodist Church, 505 W. Gurley St. Light refreshments will be provided. Join the conversation as we come together to learn about the current climate crisis, and how we can move forward as a community to protect our environment and natural resources. The talk also will touch on Flagstaff’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. For more information, call 928-899-4388 or email

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