Dallas Non-profit Part of National Initiative to Increase Mental Health Literacy


One in five Americans has a mental illness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10 with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health. Equest, a Dallas-based non-profit that provides therapeutic horsemanship and other healing activities and programs to those in need,  offers one lifesaving opportunity, Mental Health First Aid, a program governed by the National Counsel for Behavioral Health.

Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour, in-person training course that gives people the tools to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. The training gives the participants the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

Equest offers three separate training modules including youths, adults, and veterans and their families for Mental Health First Aid certification.

“The difference between someone getting the help they need or suffering in silence could be this program. That is why being trained in Mental Health First Aid is just as important as being CPR certified,” said Susannah Denney, Certified Mental Health First Aid Instructor and Equest Veterans Coordinator.

In just ten years, Mental Health First Aid has trained more than one million Americans – everyone from police officers, teachers, and employers to former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and television personality Dr. Oz – to recognize and respond to signs of a mental health challenge. In August 2017, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and National Council for Behavioral Health teamed up to train 150,000 people in Mental Health First Aid by the end of the year by providing training courses along all U.S. stops of Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour.

For more information and to sign-up for a course, contact Susannah Denney at 972.412.1099 or sdenney@equest.org. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid in the U.S., visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.

About Equest

Founded in 1981, Equest provides equine facilitated activities, therapies and counseling to children and adults with physical, cognitive, sensory, coping and learning disabilities and veterans with adjustment challenges. The services provided include physical and occupational therapy, equine facilitated counseling and learning, therapeutic carriage driving, therapeutic horsemanship and competition. With the help of 36 therapy horses, 10 instructors, four therapists, two counselors, and 400 volunteers, lives are changed on a daily basis for more than 3,000 clients served annually. Equest was the first PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Texas and remains one of the largest in the country. Equest offers an engaging volunteer program that provides 40,000 hours of direct program service opportunities each year. Equest was named “2015 Non-Profit of the Year” by CNM Connect. www.equest.org

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