CRNE Veteran Staff Learn Mental Health First Aid

Our overnight camp has redoubled its efforts to address the needs of campers and
staff who are experiencing mental health challenges. CRNE has increased its focus
on this area in recent years. Given the challenges of the last difficult year, this is an
especially important time for our staff members to prepare to support members of
our camp community who may be facing mental health challenges.


This spring, ten CRNE veteran staff members received a certificate in Mental Health
First Aid after participating in a 6-hour training to give them the skills they need to
reach out and provide initial support to children and adolescents who may be
developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the
appropriate care. This program, which the National Ramah Commission helped to
coordinate and fund, teaches camp staff members how to be prepared to help in
both crisis and non-crisis situations. The participants learned to assess for risk of
harm; listen nonjudgmentally; give reassurance and information; and encourage
appropriate professional help, self-help and other strategies.


The participants feel that the training significantly enhanced their ability to meet
the needs of campers and staff. The training “allowed us to be confident in
recognizing signs of [mental health challenges] no matter where they fall on the
spectrum as well as the proper assistance to provide at a given time,” said Shira
Farbman. Andy Weissfeld felt “it was a very important, informative, and impactful
program where I gained some great tools to initiate supportive conversations with
campers and staff about mental health.”


Ianne Sherry emphasized that “it is a big responsibility to care for the physical and
mental wellbeing of campers and staff. This training helped me to feel more
prepared for crisis and non-crisis situations at camp and I now feel better able to
support my staff and my campers.” Now that she has completed the training, Emma
Gelb “not only feels prepared, but confident in [her] ability to respond to someone
going through a mental health crisis.”


To learn more about Mental Health First Aid, go to