To the Editor:
On Sept. 25 and 26, the Martha’s Vineyard chapter of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) hosted two Mental Health First Aid Courses that were generously paid for by a grant from the Farm Neck Foundation. The eight-hour MHFA course educated the 45 participants on how to better identify, understand, and respond to mental health issues in crisis and noncrisis situations. The participants largely consisted of our local police departments, sheriff’s department, and medical professionals.
We appreciate all our first responders and medical personnel for the important work they do every day, and we are so grateful to those who attended for taking the interest in furthering education around common and stigmatized mental health conditions. A special thanks to Edgartown, Aquinnah, and Oak Bluffs Police chiefs, as well as M.V. Hospital, M.V. Community Services, and Houses of Grace for making attendance by your staff a priority. A shout-out of appreciation to Oak Bluffs Fire and EMS for allowing us to use your facility. Many thanks to Sgt. Kevin Marshall of Nantucket P.D. and retired Lt. Martin Baker for teaching the courses.
Cecilia Brennan, NAMI CCI board member, M.V. chapter
Lisa BelCastro, NAMI M.V. coordinator