Mental Health First Aid Training

Rev. Shelly Petz


I took my very first First Aid Training when I was 13 years old.
I took my very first Mental Health First Aid Training last month.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to take the Mental Health First Aid Training. Probably a multitude of factors. I did not know about it. It did not seem as widely available or acceptable. The stigma of mental health. I thought I knew just enough about mental health issues that I knew when to refer congregation members to mental health providers.
What I learned in taking Mental Health First Aid Training is that both Medical and Mental Health First Aid Training are important to my spiritual health and the spiritual health of others. My body, mind and spirit are so intricately connected that when one part is hurting, it can affect the others. While I have known this for a long period of time, it came to a deeper awareness of what role I can play in tending to medical, mental, and spiritual challenges for myself and others.
One in four adults experiences mental illness in a given year. One in four. These are not just numbers. These are our family members, congregation members, community members, clergy colleagues, ourselves.
If you have not yet taken the chance to take a Mental Health First Aid Training, I encourage you to do so. There are many trainings that are available right now…and free to you. This training explores how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders in your community. Clergy, this could be a real gift you offer to those you serve. 

The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund is offering two online courses a month through June. For more information or to register.

Wespath is offering online trainings in March. Click here to register.
Oh, and I put these numbers in my phone. If you haven’t, would you consider doing the same?

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “MHFA” to 741741 (available 24/7, 365 days a year)
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Call: 1-800-272-7255
  • TTY: 800.697.0353
  • Online:
  • App: GuidanceNow
Grace and peace,

Rev. Dr. Shelly Petz
Clergy Faith and Wellness Consultant
Great Plains Conference