Wrapping up 2017

This year marked the 25th anniversary of the National Family Preservation Network (NFPN). During this year we released a training video for the NCFAS-G+R assessment tool, provided a web database for the assessment tools in cooperation with Integrated Imaging, produced a video on substance abuse and in-home services, and began planning for our next 25 years!

We’re excited to have served as the primary national voice for the preservation of families for over two decades and to continue doing so in the future. Next year we will be working on a nationwide rural opioid project to find out how rural areas are addressing this issue and how we can help strengthen and preserve families caught up in this epidemic.

The opioid epidemic has also created renewed interest in reunifying families and father involvement and NFPN has resources, training, and technical assistance available in those areas. In addition to substance abuse, blog posts in 2017 also addressed suicide and mental health as NFPN moves more into the behavioral and mental health arena.

Thank you for everything you do on behalf of families.


Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director

Mental Health First Aid

The National Family Preservation Network (NFPN) recently coordinated a training on Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). Developed in 2001, the goal of MHFA is to teach members of the public (“helpers”) how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional distress.

Because the training is designed for members of the public, there are a number of generally-held myths that need to be addressed. Once thought to affect very few, it’s estimated that one in five Americans will experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any year. That means that most of us will have a family member, neighbor, colleague, friend, or others we encounter who face a mental health challenge. But we also need to keep in mind that many of these people lead productive and satisfying lives, sometimes with little or no access to formal mental health services.
Recovery is defined as regaining physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional balance. The most important component of recovery is hope. This means that the most important role of the helper is to offer hope. The helper also provides support in order for the person to feel less distressed and to seek further assistance.

The best way to help is to listen, to give the person your full attention. Listening may be the most effective link in helping a person to seek treatment. In order to listen well, the helper needs to:
• Avoid premature conclusions based on your own life experiences.
• Help the person understand self.
• Permit the person to retain ownership of the challenge.
• Listen without judging.
• Maintain an optimistic attitude.

The Mental Health First Aid Training includes a manual with the following:
• Overview of mental health problems
• Information on specific mental health problems including depression, suicide, anxiety disorders, psychosis, substance use, eating disorders, and crises
• Action plan for help that includes assessment, listening, giving reassurance, and encouraging appropriate professional and self-help.

A certified instructor provides the 8-hour training which is highly interactive. The training day that NFPN coordinated was offered in a rural area and attended primarily by first responders (police, firefighters, EMTs) along with a school counselor, pastors, professional mental health counselor, senior citizen center manager, and national organization administrator. The workplace cultural differences in the group were very apparent early on! However, in rural areas it’s critical to work across systems and the training was especially useful in that regard. There are no behavioral health services offered in this rural town so it’s essential to have this type of training.

The training day (including lunch, snacks) was funded by the state behavioral health contracting organization.

For more information visit https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/

Posted by Priscilla Martens, NFPN Executive Director

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