Free training for residents aims to make Richmond ‘mental health friendly’


An “increasing and overwhelming” number of people in Richmond suffering from trauma and mental health issues is prompting an effort to train community members — and particularly faith leaders — on how to respond to neighbors in distress.

From 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, a Mental Health 101 training will be held at Hilltop Community Church, 3118 Shane Drive, said Michelle Milam, the city’s Crime Prevention Manager.

All community members interested in learning more about this topic are encouraged to attend. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m.

Attendees will learn how to identify mental illness and receive strategies on how to assist people who have experienced violence or other trauma.

Faith leaders are particularly being targeted with this training, as they are often “first responders” for people suffering from mental health distress, Milam said.

City and faith leaders hope the event will push forward a broader effort to make Richmond a “mental health-friendly” community, where stigmas linked to mental health are eliminated and where resources aimed at helping sufferers are widely promoted.

Last year, Mental Health First Aid trainings were provided in the community as part of the initiative, Milam said.

“We will continue to build a supportive team for this movement which already includes: Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services, a network of Mental Health Friendly Churches, NAMI Contra Costa County, City of Richmond, Richmond Police Department and other important community stakeholders,” Milam said. “We are excited to further extend our reach by offering this Mental Health 101 training and hope to see you there.”

Anyone with questions are free to contact Milam at