Skip top navigation Skip to main content

Discover Lasell

Mental Health First Aid

March 09, 2023

Lasell University piloted a new undergraduate course this year in which students earn two professional certifications: Mental Health First Aid from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and Ageism First Aid from the Gerontological Society of America.

Isabelle Gagne, internship coordinator and faculty member in the School of Humanities, Education, Justice & Social Sciences, oversaw the inaugural session of this class in 2022.

Students are trained in the ALGEE principles of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing: Assessing for risk of suicide or harm, Listening nonjudgmentally, Giving reassurance and information, Encouraging appropriate professional help, and Encouraging self-help and other support strategies. The coursework and its resulting certification can help students in supporting loved ones and in managing difficult work situations.

“In the Mental Health First Aid course, students are trained how to recognize signs of mental health and substance use challenges, with an additional emphasis on self-care,” says Gagne. Next fall, the course will also include specific coursework and examples on navigating mental health challenges in a campus community.

The Ageism First Aid course features a specific focus on combatting negative misconceptions about aging — a benefit for students who work with older populations or family members.

“The training includes a component on effective communication, which is really powerful,” says Gagne. “It has some real, practical implications for everyday positive, meaningful, and respectful interactions.”

The one-credit course, she says, will be available again this fall and is appropriate for all majors.