Mental Health First Aid Certification

              Lt. Virgil Meyers

     Pennsylvania Department

              of Corrections

"I wish that every corrections officer could receive Mental Health First Aid training. I believe that our corrections system would be better because of it – the inmates would benefit, the officers would benefit and ultimately our communities would benefit."

Nathan Krause, Pastor

Olney Seventh-day Adventist



“I’ve taken regular first aid, and I’ve used both, but certainly the opportunities to use Mental Health First Aid are much more abundant."

The Mental Health First Aid Certification course was my first certification of this type, but the information and the instructor were so useful and informative. My oldest son, has mental health issues. I can now understand some of the problems and challenges that he deals with and has to overcome daily. My wife and I will always be thankful to God for being exposed to this experience. 

Elder Leonard Corbin

Gabriel's Lyric Staff Member

Mental Health First Aid has already made a difference in police departments around the country.

  • Rhode Island began offering Mental Health First Aid training to its police officers in 2008. It has helped officers better identify the signs of mental illness and improved their knowledge and understanding of mental illnesses.

  • In 2013, 50 percent of police-involved shootings in Albuquerque involved people with indications of mental health issues. So far, in 2016 after New Mexico started training officers, that number is one.

  • It is also changing how law enforcement perceives and interacts with people with behavioral health issues. The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections trains every staff member in Mental Health First Aid. In addition to affecting day-to-day interactions in the state’s prisons, the program has led to changes in prison policy and culture. Inmates with mental illnesses are no longer placed in solitary confinement, where in 2013, 206 of 288 documented suicide attempts took place.





                                                              By Marcia Purse - Reviewed by a board-certified physician.                    

                                                             Updated July 11, 2016


Bipolar disorder, formally known as manic-depressive illness, is a chronic psychiatric illness characterized by extreme changes in a person's mood and behavior. 

Let's read about the classic symptoms of bipolar disorder during both a manic and depressive episode.

Symptoms of Manic Episode

Mania is a hallmark state in bipolar disorder. An episode of mania can quickly spiral out of control, causing a great deal of disruption and mayhem for the individual and his or her loved ones.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling overly good, hyper, or "high"

  • Feeling extremely irritable

  • Feeling very self-confident, an unrealistic, sense of entitlement, inflated self-esteem

  • Getting little sleep and not feeling tired — feeling rested after only 3 hours of sleep

  • Talking a lot, feeling pressured to keep talking

  • Having racing thoughts, flight of ideas

  • High energy and taking on lots of tasks at school, home, or sexually

  • Easily distracted, especially towards unimportant things

  • Engaging in more pleasurable activities that have a high potential for poor consequences, like sex, shopping, or gambling


How to Recognize a Manic Episode

Some people have hypomanic episodes and not manic episodes. Hypomania is similar to mania, except the symptoms are overall less intense and only need to last four days in a row, as opposed to at least a week for a manic episode. Hypomania also does not typically impair a person's level of functioning, as a manic episode does.


Symptoms of Major Depressive Episode

Mania/hypomania is the upswing of manic depression, and depression is the downswing. An episode of depression may be very debilitating, often leaving the sufferer with significant problems in functioning. It is an extreme emotional state that impairs daily living.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling intensely sad or hopeless or worthless

  • Loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed

  • Feeling guilty

  • Sleeping problems, too much or too little

  • Moving slowly or restless and agitated, moving more

  • Difficulty focusing

  • Fatigue

  • Restless or irritable

  • Change in appetitie

  • Thoughts of death or suicide


How to Recognize a Depressive Episode

Additional Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

There can be more to bipolar disorder than just mood swings between mania/hypomania and depression. Adults may experience mixed episodesrapid cycling, psychosis, and other complications, or they may have a condition where depression is slightly less serious called cyclothymia.

     Children too can be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and the some symptoms may be unique from

     the ones adult exhibit.


The Uniqueness of Bipolar Disorder 

Just as every person on earth is unique, every person with bipolar experiences it in a unique way.

Within the broad groupings of manic/hypomanic and depressive symptoms, each person will have his or her own markers — which are unique expressions of the illness that help to define that person's personal brand of bipolar disorder.

What Should I Do?


While bipolar disorder can severely affect a person's daily functioning and quality of life, with treatment, people can lead meaningful and productive lives. 

If you are concerned about your mood or a loved one's mood, please seek guidance from your personal physician or a mental health professional.




American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5). 

American Psychiatric Association. What are Bipolar Disorders? Retrieved October 28th 2015. 


National Institute of Mental Health. Bipolar Disorder in Adults. Retrieved October 28th 2015. 

Twiss J, Jones S, & Anderson I. Validation of the Mood Disorder Questionnaire for screening for bipolar disorder in a UK sample. J Affect Disord. 2008 Sep;110(1-2):180-4.