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UAM Athletics Department Undergoes Mental Health First Aid Certification

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MONTICELLO, Ark. – On June 22, the UAM Athletics staff, including coaches and athletic trainers, gathered in the Judy and Jack Lassiter Indoor Practice Facility for an interactive training session on mental health first aid. UAM became the first University Athletics Department in the natural state of Arkansas to be fully certified in Mental Health First Aid.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello Athletics Department would like to extend a warm thank you to Amanda Kuttenkuler from the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership for providing the training. The facilitator outlined a number of different scenarios—for example, an athlete is displaying signs of emotional distress and early drug usage to cope—and asked each group what they’d do to respond to such a situation. The staff came out of this training section with numerous strategies they can use to identify students in distress and connect them with help.

“We are very grateful to Mandy and her team for spending time with our entire athletics team on such an important topic,” said UAM Athletic Director, Hud Jackson“We are committed to being a strong advocate for mental health awareness and we will strive to be the best at making sure our student-athletes get the proper help they need in times of struggle.”

The importance on maintaining mental health among student-athletes is not just a growing concern for Arkansas-Monticello. According to the NCAA Student Athlete Well-Being Study in Fall 2020, student-athletes reported feeling increased levels of exhaustion, hopelessness and depression, all feelings exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.

The training consisted of two seminars on Tuesday and Wednesday led by Amanda Kuttenkuler. Part presentation, part interactive experience, the training showed the athletics staff how to handle a variety of mental-health-related situations, including recognizing warning signs, receiving someone who is in distress and connecting athletes with other important resources if necessary.

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