June 13, 2023

Oneida & Montgomery Counties Team Up for Mental Health Training

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In a collaborative effort between neighboring counties, the Oneida County Health Department has received free Mental Health First Aid training from the Montgomery County Health Department in order to teach staff members how to identify signs of mental illness and substance use disorders.

“This mental health training session was a tremendous example of how counties can work together collaboratively and share services that benefit our governments and the people we serve,” said Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. “I want to thank County Executive Ossenfort for providing this valuable service to us free of charge, and I look forward to exploring more mutually beneficial avenues between our governments and others.

“I am proud to support the collaboration between Montgomery County and Oneida County in providing Mental Health First Aid training, especially during a time where Mental Health Services are needed more than ever,” said Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort. “By sharing resources and knowledge, we can make a positive impact on the mental well-being of our communities. This training exemplifies the power of partnerships and the commitment to supporting the needs of our residents.”

Montgomery County Public & Mental Health Director Sara Boerenko, LCSW, and Mental Health Education Coordinator Maria Mancini, trained 14 Oneida County Health Department employees on June 5 & 6, 2023. Montgomery County has also provided the Mental Health First Aid training to Monroe County government staff members.

Mental Health First Aid is a research and evidence-based training program from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing designed to teach people how to identify signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. The course provides a specific action plan to support the response to someone who may be facing a mental health challenge.

Those trained have increased knowledge in recognizing signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use difficulties, can identify various ways of response and recognize and manage their own mental wellbeing. Mental Health First Aid training supports an empathetic response and awareness for those experiencing these conditions and helps reduce stigma.

“We are appreciative that Montgomery County offered this training for our staff,” said Dr. Daniel W. Gilmore, Ph.D., MPH, Director of Health for Oneida County.  “We work with the public on a daily basis and this training is invaluable to support the needs in this community.”

“The mental health crisis has been prominent since before 2020,” Boerenko said. “Now, more than ever, counties have to share resources to assist residents that are struggling with depression, anxiety, substance use, and suicidal ideations.  This partnership with Oneida County showcases how we can help each other fill in gaps that are only growing.”

To find out more about Mental Health First Aid, visit https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/.

Oneida County Partners