Cause Championed by RIRA Common Council VP Lynne Shinozaki

Mental Health First Aid for Veterans

Updated 1 year ago
Mental Health First Aid for Veterans

Lynne Shinozaki, who among other volunteer activities, serves as the RIRA Common Council's Vice President, is championing the cause of solving the crisis in mental health among veterans. According to the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, 20% of vets who served in either Iraq or Afghanistan suffer from either major depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, but statistics show that only half will get the help they need. Shinozaki hopes to increase those odds.

Shinozaki sent a letter to the veteran community...

"This spring, Community Board 8 invites you to our Veterans Mental Health First Aid Trainings at Hunter College. As part of the City's Thrive NYC initiative, the NYC Department of Health is offering free Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to all New Yorkers."

(Shinozaki notes that the training is equally helpful for dealing with the homeless.)

"MHFA is a groundbreaking public education program that teaches skills needed to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance abuse. This 8-hour course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to offer initial help in a mental health crisis and connect persons to the appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care.

"Like CPR, MHFA prepares participants to interact with a person in crisis and connect the person with help. First Aiders do not take on the role of the professionals.

"The Veterans and Military MHFA course is designed for veterans, family members of veterans and personnel working with the military and families.

"Thirty percent of active duty and reserve military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan have a mental health condition requiring treatment. Less than 50% of returning veterans receive any mental health treatment. The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that approximately 22 veterans die by suicide every day and this course is helping to change the conversation surrounding mental health in the veteran community.

"The training leads to:

• Greater recognition of behavioral health challenges
• Increased confidence in one’s ability to help
• Increased amount of help provided
• Decreased stigmatizing attitudes while promoting inclusion

"After completing the MHFA course, participants earn a three year certification from the National Council of Behavioral Health. This course provides community members with the tools necessary to respond appropriately to mental health challenges in their neighborhoods and we are excited to begin collaborating with leaders like you."

Mental Health First Aid for Veterans

To sign up for upcoming trainings, please visit

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