Mental Health First Aid training course at Reading Hospital - Tower Health.
Mental Health First Aid training course at Reading Hospital - Tower Health

Reading Hospital has re-introduced Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to better equip employees and community members with the knowledge needed to support someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

The first two classes were held on October 27 and November 30. Both sessions were filled almost immediately with 60 employees and community members completing the training. Due to the overwhelming interest in the course, the Reading Hospital Community Wellness team plans to host additional workshops in 2024.

With MHFA training, individuals can learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of a mental health crisis or substance use disorder in their family, friends, and peers early on. The course, funded by the Reading Hospital Foundation, consists of in-person lessons that provide instruction, group discussions, and guidance during role-playing activities while offering tools and access to community resources.

Each workshop teaches attendees:

  • The signs and symptoms of mental illness and substance use.
  • How to interact with an individual experiencing a crisis.
  • How to connect individuals with resources.
  • How to administer Naloxone in the event of an opioid crisis.

“Mental Health First Aid training contributes to a more informed, empathetic, and supportive society that is better equipped to aid someone facing a mental health concern,” said Chelsie L. Ober, Instructor for Mental Health First Aid Training, BS HCM, Paramedic, Manager of Emergency Preparedness and EMS Outreach. “It is important that we know how to help our family, friends, and neighbors through a mental health crisis and this course aims to achieve just that.”

Mental Health First Aid is appropriate for both medical and non-medically trained individuals,” said Chelsie L. Ober. “Do not hesitate to seek assistance from your local crisis intervention agency or dial 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.” 

“The program provides an overview of common mental health challenges and practical applications for approaching individuals and assessing the potential for suicide or self-harm,” said Jessica A. Borthwick, MSN, RN, AGCNS-BC, CMSRN, CHFN, Clinical Nurse Specialist. “Not long ago I was faced with a situation where I applied what I learned in the course. The individual reached out to me afterward, thanking me for caring enough to ask if they were suicidal or had plans to harm themselves.”

The course is recommended for anyone interested in equipping themselves with the training needed to offer support to an individual experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. Participants were required to complete two hours of coursework before their selected course date.

For more information, please email Community Wellness.


About Reading Hospital

Reading Hospital is the flagship, Magnet Recognized, acute care hospital of Tower Health. Located in West Reading, Pa., Reading Hospital is a 697-bed hospital that is home to many top-tier specialty care centers, including Reading HealthPlex, McGlinn Cancer Institute, Miller Regional Heart Center, Emergency Department, Level I Trauma Center and Beginnings Maternity Center, which houses the region's only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). With more than 1,000 physicians, specialists, and advanced practice providers across 49 locations, Reading Hospital has been recognized for its quality outcomes and clinical expertise across service lines. It is listed as one of America's 100 Best Hospitals for four consecutive years (and moving up to America’s 50 Best Hospitals in 2022). For more information, visit

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