By Airman 1st Class William Turnbull
355th Wing Public Affairs
An Oklahoma Air National Guard first sergeant hosted a Mental Health First-Aid class to certify Airmen as mental health first-aiders at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., June 21-24, 2022.
Master Sgt. Timothy Cotterall, 137th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron first sergeant, travelled to DM to train the Airmen of the 924th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and DM’s first sergeants to certify them to be able to recognize early warning signs of mental health issues.
“Mental health first-aid is an early intervention public education program,” said Cotterall. “It teaches Airmen how to recognize the signs and symptoms that suggest a potential mental health challenge, how to listen non-judgmentally and give reassurance to a person who may be experiencing a mental health challenge, and how to refer a person to appropriate professional support and services.”
The course is not designed to replace professional help, but to equip Airmen with the tools needed to spot early warning signs of declining mental health and empower their wingmen to seek professional help.
Overall, 47 participants were trained this week and everyone is now certified as a Mental Health First Aiders through the National Council of Behavioral Health.
Participants were taught the acronym ALGEE; Assess for risk of suicide or harm, Listen non-judgmentally, Give reassurance and information, Encourage appropriate professional help, Encourage self-help and other support strategies.
“Through this training we can raise awareness Air Force wide and better equip Airmen to recognize someone experiencing a mental health crisis.” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Erica Dubuque, 924th AMXS first sergeant.