Mindful Minds Inc., a non-profit group started by Logan County resident Steve Terrill to help people learn to care for their mental health as effectively as they do their physical health, received a three-year $375,000 grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Mental Health Awareness Training Grant was issued Sept. 18 to Mindful Minds along with the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation and Partnership for Violence Free Families to provide Mental Health First Aid training services for Ohio National Guard personnel and their families. It is to be administered by Case Western Reserve University.
“I have hopes this will increase our rank with Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services state agency officials too,” Terrill said. “We have been having very constructive discussions with the newly appointed state director, Dr. (Mark) Hurst, and have a strong advocate with the deputy director of Government Affairs. They have already offered to provide much needed promotion/awareness through their communications networks and marketing vehicles. This will also complement our efforts with the Ohio County Board Veterans and Family Services and public libraries in offering MHFA across Ohio too.”
Terrill and his wife, Debbie, began offering MHFA training for free after their son, Sgt. Kevin Terrill, committed suicide at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in July 2016. Individuals completing the course receive a certificate, and their names are added to a national registry of those equipped to help in a mental health crisis.
“Debbie and I are on the suicide loss team,” he said. “We go out if there’s a suicide or an accident that caused a loss and meet with the family and with the public safety people, because the cops are very stretched with trying to understand what happened. We’re there to help the family and those people that are just trying to survive a loss. Someone who just lost a son is in shock, and they have a much better recovery rate if we give them help.”
Another education program, Gatekeeper, is 90 minutes long and focuses on understanding suicide symptoms. Terrill said 22 U.S. veterans’ lives are lost every day to suicide.
Earlier this year, Terrill taught the eight-hour MHFA course to more than 220 staff, teachers and counselors of Indian Lake schools at the request of Superintendent Rob Underwood.
“Some people call it a CPR course for your mind, because it is designed to educate people on what mental health is,” Terrill said. “We understand how to take care of our mind like we do our body, but more importantly we understand in a crisis situation how to help somebody, identify that somebody needs help, be able to talk to them and get them help. We’re not diagnosing the help, but we’re like a CPR course in the fact we’re educated enough to know how to help somebody who’s in a crisis situation, and that could be an overdose, that could be a suicide risk, that could be severe depression, anxiety, PTSD for veterans, or a lot of things.”
To enroll or find out about the next available course, contact Terrill at 919-623-0952 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Christopher Selmek can be reached at 937-508-2304