The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed guest speaker Carrie Anderson Mays, senior behavioral health specialist with Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare. Mays spoke to the club about Mental Health First Aid, a public education program offered by Starting Point that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illness such as anxiety, depression substance use and bipolar disorder. She likened the eight-hour course to learning CPR – the objective isn’t to save the patient, but to provide initial help in a mental health crisis until they can receive the appropriate professional care and counseling. The program trains individuals in a five-step action plan called ALGEE: Assess for risk of suicide or harm; listen nonjudgmentally; give reassurance and information; encourage appropriate professional help; and, encourage self-help and other support strategies. Starting Point is currently providing Mental Health First Aid training to several law enforcement agencies in Nassau County. Mays said the goal of Mental Health First Aid is to train as many people in the community in the first-response program not only to provide assistance to those in a mental health crisis, but to reduce the stigma of mental illness and substance abuse through education. To learn more about the program or to register for classes, visit www.MHFANassau.com.