GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Gateway in Greenville helps adults in the Upstate living with serious and persistent mental illness.

Wednesday they hosted a Mental Health First Aid training for first responders and other members of the community.

“How do we notice people, help people, support people and know the general information without going around trying to diagnose everybody,” said Robyn Ellison, education coordinator of behavioral health at Prisma Health.

Ellison taught the class, hoping to help those in attendance identify and help someone having a mental health crisis.

“Part of ending the stigma is informing everybody about how popular mental health is and how common it is in everyone’s family,” said Gateway worker and member Timothy Powell. “We are not powerless against it. We can actually do something about it.”

Randy Redlinger, executive director of Gateway, said providing help to those struggling with mental health can be life changing.

“It is amazing to see when someone enters our program and see them gain their confidence and take opportunities that are available to them,” Redlinger said. “It is amazing to see and their stories, it is amazing to hear.”

Other community leaders said they feel their staff will be able to better help people in the community with the crucial training they received through the eight hour long course.

“We train our staff with CPR, and we need to also train our staff with mental health,” said Jennifer Fouse Sheorn, pastor and director of Triune Mercy Center. “Even more so our staff works every day with people who have mental health challenges as well as substance abuse challenges as well as many experiencing homelessness. A lot of that goes together.”

Prisma Health said they are offering free classes to anyone interested through a five year Mental Health Awareness Grant. 

Prisma Health told us the class usually costs $175 per person, but thanks to the grant free classes will be offered for five years, with no limit on how many people they serve.