SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Mental illness takes on many different forms, especially in veterans, so Syracuse University's Institute for Veterans and Military Families is giving mental health first aid training this week.
"A lot of times we think mental health looks one way, and it's whatever we see around a school shooting or something," said Novelette Pierce, a national trainer with the National Council for Behavioral Health. "It really has nothing to do with violence. We look at some of the specific disorders and say what are the signs and symptoms."
According to the National Center for Behavioral Health, nearly a third of military personnel deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan require mental health treatment, but less than half recieve that treatment.
The training is designed to eliminate the stigma.
"We have no problem assisting someone who might fall and hurt themselves and scrape their knee," said Pierce. "It's the same thing. We want people to look at mental health issues the same way they do at physical health issues and be willing to assist a neighbor."
About a dozen coordinators from the IVMF's AmericaServes program are participating in the three day class, and their reach extends across the northeast.
"It's great because the people who are trained here today will be trained as trainers so they will go back to their communities and be able to train those who they work with," said Beth Kubala, IVMF Senior Director of Programs and Services. "It's just going to have an exponential effect to better enhance services to veterans."
The training is funded through a grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
SU will hold sessions across the country over the next three years.