(NewsUSA) – Training employees, first responders and the general public how to perform CPR and first aid techniques has a long record of success. Understanding how to respond during a mental health crisis, however, is not commonly taught, even to police officers or EMTs.
Dr. Dan Fisher, the executive director at the National Empowerment Center, saw the need for a solution. Dr. Fisher’s experience with mental health is personal. While at Harvard Medical School, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Since then, he has spent forty years as a board-certified, community psychiatrist developing innovative treatments for schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
In 2009, he created the concept of Emotional CPR — or eCPR — as a training system that teaches safe ways to help individuals in an emotional crisis. The course, taught over either two or four days, has only been made available during the last three years.
“This is an approach for anybody to help anybody else,” said Dr. Fisher. “It helps restart a person’s emotional state.”
ECPR has captured attention in the U.S. and internationally in countries like Singapore and Australia. The program has also received CARF accreditation and a recommendation from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Although a similar program exists, Mental Health First Aid, eCPR goes further and thus is a good second step or replacement.
The program’s obvious merit caught the attention of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care.
“The more I learned about eCPR, the more I was convinced that it truly deserved funding to broaden its audience,” said Dr. Gina Nikkel, president and CEO of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. “ECPR is relevant to everyone, even people who think they don’t know anyone with a mental illness. This program and Dr. Fisher’s work are a natural fit with our organization and its mission.”
The Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care is driven by a mission to educate professionals and individuals with the goal of making the recovery model of care the new mainstream. As a community foundation with an international reach, the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care funds independent research, new program development and awareness. ECPR is one of more than a dozen programs that the Foundation helps support.
“We are always looking for partners who are passionate about building recovery support for people with mental health challenges,” said Dr. Nikkel.
For more information about the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care, the programs and research it funds and how to help spread the message, visit www.mentalhealthexcellence.org.