Ruth Kaluski from Mental Health Association of NJ facilitates Mental Health First Aid Training to staff at Trenton Public Schools.

Trenton Health Team (THT) received a grant from Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson to address mental health and substance abuse issues in Trenton by training front line staff, lay leaders, family members and others to be equipped with basic knowledge about mental health issues and appropriate resources that are available for assistance.

Based on a recent Community Health Needs Assessment, issues of mental health and substance abuse are priority concerns for the Trenton community. To help address this issue, THT is launching the Training Peer Leaders for Mental Health First Aid program. Partnering with local churches, schools and other community-based organizations, THT plans to host five eight-hour Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) trainings across the city.

Through MHFA training, participants are able to assess a mental health crisis, select interventions, provide initial help, and connect people to professional, peer and social support resources.

MHFA training teaches early detection and intervention strategies for common mental health issues like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and addictions. Additionally, a new supplement has been added to the curriculum to address the opioid crisis.

“Leaders within the faith community, schools, and other community based organizations are often the first responders for mental health issues in Trenton,” Gregory Paulson, executive director of Trenton Health Team, said in a statement. “By partnering with these well-respected institutions, we seek to connect residents with the resources they need to improve health outcomes.”

For more information, visit trentonhealthteam.org.