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Someone we know could be suffering a mental health or substance use problem. Providence St. Mary Medical Center and the national USA Mental Health First Aid program maintain we’re more likely to encounter someone in an emotional or mental health crisis than someone having a heart attack.

To help community members be prepared for such an instance, the hospital will host an eight-hour training course that imparts information about mental illnesses, anxiety, depression, psychosis and addictions, risk factors and warning signs, strategies for how to help someone in crisis and non-crisis situations, connect that person with help and how to administer naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose. 

The Adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone in the community 18 years and older. 

It will be offered twice — from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 21 or Nov. 18 in the Providence Room at St. Mary, 401 W. Poplar St.

Funding support from Providence St. Joseph Health made it possible for more than 300 caregivers and community members to receive training in mental health first aid this year. Some agencies, such as the Walla Walla Housing Authority, have cycled through their entire workforce, said Becky Betts, MSN, RN, CRRN, in a release. 

Free registration is required via Becky, manager of Population Health SEWA and adult and a youth mental health first aid instructor with Providence Medical Group, at

“The courses have been extremely popular and always fill up,” she said. 

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at or afternoons at 526-8313. 

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,

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