Since 2015, the Vermilion County Mental Health 708 Board has been involved in a federal grant, a local grant funded by the Vermilion Healthcare Foundation, funding from Gibson Area Hospital, and now the Vermilion County Board, that has provided both Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings in east central Illinois and western Indiana. Over 4,000 people in the region have received one or both of the trainings. The federal grant ended Sept. 30, and all the goals for the grant were met. The grant was ranked sixth out of 88 agencies across the country in meeting its goals and the evaluations that attendees completed.

With the support of funding from the Vermilion County Board and Gibson Area Hospital, the VCMHB office will continue the trainings in Vermilion County and surrounding areas. Beth Bray Knecht, of Hoopeston, who has served as the Project Director for the training effort since its beginning, will continue to serve in that role. She will also be an instructor for both trainings, as will Jim Russell, Executive Director of the VCMHB.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings will be held on the first Friday of every month in 2022, from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, at the Vermilion County Health Department in Danville. The Youth trainings are intended for adults who work with or have contact with youth, and is well suited for teachers, coaches, parents, youth ministers and any others who work with or have young people in their lives. Adult Mental Health First Aid Trainings will be held on the third Friday of every month in 2022, from 8:30 AM to 5 PM, at the Vermilion County Health Department in Danville. Please call or text Beth Bray Knecht at (217) 516-2298 to register, or with any questions. You may also email her at bethbrayknecht16@gmail.com to register. You can also call Jim Russell at (217) 443-3500 with any questions.

Trainings can also be scheduled at clubs, churches, organizations, social services agencies, companies, and industries who are interested in helping their staffs and volunteers to be better equipped to assist in a mental health crisis. Please call Beth or Jim with questions, or to schedule a training for your group.