Boca Raton’s Promise And Broken Sound Club Partnership Adds 24 New Mental Health First Aiders To Community With More To Come

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Staff report

Thanks to a new partnership between Boca Raton’s Promise and Broken Sound Club, there are 24 newly trained community advocated in Mental Health First Aid.

The first of five Mental Health First Aid sessions was recently held at Broken Sound Club where business owners, nonprofit leaders and community advocates spent the day learning from the international MHFA curriculum developed in Australia in 2001 by nurse Betty Kitchener and her husband.

The training helps people identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders through an interactive eight-hour course.

“As demonstrated in Parkland, each one of us may one day find ourselves in an unexpected role of ‘mental health first aider’ as a friend, colleague or family member with lives at risk in our neighborhoods, schools, workplace, houses of worship, ballparks or homes and this training will prepare us,” said Rita Thrasher, co-founder and executive director of Boca Raton’s Promise. “Just as we have globally valued and promoted the critical need for CPR training, our community must now be as passionate to do the same with Mental Health First Aid training. It is critical to the health, welfare and safety of our community. We thank Broken Sound Club for opening its doors to expand this opportunity.”

The local training was taught by certified trainers Ed Frontera and Cindy Wides, two of 24 trainers in Palm Beach County, who since 2014 have collectively trained more than 4,321 through 239 sessions.

The course goes over mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.

Those who take the course learn a five-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social and self-help care.

The session, hosted by Broken Sound Club at its main clubhouse, was underwritten from proceeds generated by Boca Raton’s Promise’s recent Artist-in-Residence Weekend featuring nationally recognized vocalist, songwriter, playwright, performer and author Patti Linsky.

Knowing that one in four residents in greater Boca Raton — approximately 20,000 — will be impacted by mental illness during their lifetime, the proactive partnership was created as a “call-to-action” in Boca Raton in the aftermath of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School tragedy, following the March for Our Lives rally in Mizner Park Amphitheater.

The “collaborative promise” will continue to drive Boca Raton Federation of Homeowners Associations members, private club communities, schools, youth programs, businesses and city agencies to identify and designate personnel to become MHFA-trained by nationally certified trainers secured by Boca Raton’s Promise.

Broken Sound Club will host four additional trainings that will be capped at 30 participants.

The Club is also donating funds toward underwriting the trainings of 17 individuals in “memory and honor” of each life lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

To learn more about Boca Raton’s Promise and its Mental Health First Aid trainings, visit www.bocaratonspromise.org, email info@bocaratonspromise.org or call 561-866-1850.