Dr. Diana T. Noller, chair of the Department of Medical Science, hopes that one day Americans can overcome the stigma of mental health, and she is working to help the cause.
In January, Dr. Noller was awarded the Mental Health Community Outreach Grant from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants’ (nccPA) Health Foundation to fund her proposal, “Youth Mental Health First Aid Instructor Training.” The $1,000 grant will allow her to become an instructor in youth mental health first aid. In this role, she will help adults develop the necessary skills to identify and respond to signs of mental illness or substance use disorders in adolescents.
“There is a stigma around mental health, and one of the aims of Mental Health First Aid is to educate the public to reduce this stigma,” said Dr. Noller. “We want to get people talking about mental health and, most importantly, teach them how to start conversations when they have concerns about another person's mental health. Teaching adults to identify adolescents with mental health needs and providing them with the tools to discuss concerns enables them to provide support and encourage professional help. This is essential to timely treatment and promoting mental wellness in the adolescent population.”
Dr. Noller is trained as a mental health first aid instructor for adults, which she earned as a Fellow of the Physician Assistant Foundation Mental Health Outreach Fellowship. She is also on the board for the Finance Council of the Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA).