MILFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — You’ve heard of first aid training, but what about mental health first aid?

A Milford community health center is teaching the course during Mental Health Awareness Month.

The mental health first aid training, through Bridges Healthcare, is funded through a five-year federal grant. It is free for residents in Milford, West Haven, Bethany, Orange and Woodbridge.

“We see the prevalence rate going up,” Mental Health First Aid Project Director Erica Skoutas. 

The need has never been higher, according to Erica Skoutas, the director of the Mental Health First Aid Project.

“I use the skills in this training on a daily basis,” she said.

Bridges Healthcare’s program helps people identify and respond to a mental health crisis. It hopes to certify 200 residents a year — and trainings fill fast.

Thursday’s class, which focuses on youth, has been full for weeks.

“Much like CPR…it gives someone the skills they need to support somebody in that immediate need recognize that they are having a medical emergency and support them until the appropriate professional help arrives,” Skoutas said.

Amber Schulte, who lives in Milford, joined because she wants to help her teenage children, along with children she sees at her job working at a mental health facility.

“My child has been struggling for many years, even before the pandemic,” she said. “I think the pandemic did make it worse. As he gets older, things just get a bit more challenging. Every piece of knowledge I can get will definitely help.”

An important part of Thursday’s training is called ALGEE. It’s something Skoutas she uses every day. It teaches how to approach an individual in crisis, listen to them and what steps to take next.

Training can be signed up for online.