Temple Athletics Completes Mental Health First-Aid Training Program

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The Temple University athletic department announced Wednesday that its entire athletics staff, including coaches, has received Mental Health First Aid training throughout the summer.

According to the announcement posted on owlsports.com, the interactive training sessions were provided by the City of Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) and were focused on enhancing the ability of participants to recognize the signs and symptoms of someone experiencing a mental health challenge and how to act if needed. 

"The opportunity to make Mental Health First Aid training available to all of Temple Athletics was one I was very enthusiastic about," said university vice president and director of athletics Arthur Johnson. "Whether from the research on mental health trends or incidents we hear or read about, it is hard to ignore the challenges faced by young people today. As a result, any chance we have to educate our staff and coaches to better serve our student-athletes will be time well spent. I would like to thank [associate AD for mental health and performance] Dr. Stephany Coakley for her leadership in bringing Mental Health First Aid to campus, and the great facilitators from the City's Department of Behavior Health and Intellectual Disability Services for their time and energy in leading our department through the trainings."

Participants completed self-paced, introductory materials online prior to the full-day in-person training session with coaches and staff from across the department. During the interactive component, participants were educated on the best practices for responding to an individual experiencing a mental health challenge.

The Mental Health First Aid action plan consists of five tenants that can be used individual and in any order: assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance and information, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage self-help and other support strategies (ALGEE). Participants in the training learned how to apply the action plan in a variety of situations including panic attacks, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, non-suicidal self-injury, acute psychosis, overdose or withdraw from alcohol or drug use, and reaction to a traumatic event.

"I am very appreciative of all the coaches and staff who made our Mental Health First Aid a priority this summer" Coakley said. "The training was comprehensive and their engagement throughout demonstrates their commitment to the student-athletes we are here to serve. Through our TUWell program, our student-athletes have access to licensed mental health professionals, and now this training empowers our frontline staff to have a plan of action if they encounter a student, colleague or friend experiencing a distressful situation."

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