A mental health agency in Champaign is working to reduce the stigma around mental illness, which it says affects about a quarter of American adults every year.
Community Elements Social Worker Linda Culton said the agency will hold a two-day Mental Health First Aid training course next week, where people will learn how to help someone going through a mental health crisis.
"It's a way to debunk so many myths that are out there and to, dare I say, normalize," she said. "You know, we don't always think of normalizing mental illness, but depression and anxiety are mental illnesses, and who hasn't experienced - or who doesn't know someone having problems with - those issues."
Culton said the organization's first workshop in September received encouraging feedback from participants.
"They loved it,"" she added. ""People used it in conjunction with their work, in conjunction with some of their other community activities. They used it in conjunction with their family members.""
The program includes discussions, film clips, and hands-on activities. It is open to anyone, and especially to those who might know or work with individuals with mental illness - such as friends and family, police officers, or faith leaders.
The 12-hour certification course costs $90 and includes lunch both days. It will be held Dec. 13 and 14 at 1801 Fox Drive in Champaign.