Arkansas Rural Health Partnership Expands Mental Health Outreach


Arkansas Rural Health Partnership Expands Mental Health Outreach
Amanda Kuttenkuler, senior programs director of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (Arkansas Rural Health Partnership)

The Arkansas Rural Health Partnership on Thursday announced that it trained more than 580 people across the state last year in mental health first aid.

Training was led by Senior Programs Director Amanda Kuttenkuler as part of the nonprofit's effort to expand mental health outreach in the state.

Kuttenkuler, who was recently named the top mental health first aid instructor in Arkansas, said the program "takes the guesswork out of how to respond to someone experiencing a mental health challenge." Participants learn to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges with a five-step action plan.

The nonprofit has provided training to healthcare professionals, educators, and civic groups across the state. After a recent training session at a high school, participants set up a mental health hotline that was utilized more than 130 times in six months.

“It is our hope that we are able to provide Mental Health First Aid to as many teachers, students, community members, church leaders, healthcare providers, and emergency responders as possible,” Mellie Bridewell, president and founder of the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership, said in a news release. "By increasing the amount of mental health 'gate-keepers' in our rural communities and throughout the state, it will save lives."

The Arkansas Rural Health Partnership comprises 15 rural hospitals, two community health centers, and two medical school universities.


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