Ministry Provides Class on Mental Health First Aid USA

Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry (GHCCM) provided a full day training, Mental Health First Aid USA, for their employees.  By taking the class, employees will receive certification in Mental Health First Aid.  The class was provided by Partners Behavioral Health Management.  The instructors were Stephanie Funderburk and Amber Mathews.  Those attending from GHCCM are representatives from the Medical Clinic, Pharmacy and Neighbor Engagement who have direct contact with neighbors (clients) seeking assistance from the ministry.

As stated by Molly Sain, Director of the GHCCM Medical Clinic, “At first glance, first aid is generally viewed as the first aid kit someone has in a car or providing first aid when an accident of some type occurs.  We inherently want to be ready in case of an emergency.  Early intervention can prevent an emergency.  Mental Health First Aid aims to teach members of the public (GHCCM staff) how to respond in a mental health emergency and offer support to someone who appears to be in emotional stress.”

In 2021, the Medical Clinic had 6,121 patient visits, serving 719 patients.  The Pharmacy filled 19,442 prescriptions and had 9,580 patient encounters.  The Neighbor Engagement Team served 2,766 households, provided 1,792 services for those experiencing homelessness and issued 2,137 food cards.

The terms mental illness, mental health and mental disorders are used by society, although there isn’t always a clear understanding of their meaning and relevance to day to day living. Statistics show that mental health problems are more common than heart disease, lung disease and cancer combined.   It is estimated that about 1 in 5 citizens will experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year.  Within the GHCCM Medical Clinic, over 75% of the patients have a diagnosis of mental illness.  Therefore, with the neighbors (clients) being served at GHCCM, it is critical that staff has a clear understanding of how mental illness impacts overall health.

The goal of GHCCM is to meet each neighbor (client) where they are in life’s journey, stabilize any immediate situations and assist with moving forward out of the crisis and ultimately providing life lessons for moving out of poverty.  GHCCM provides tools and education to offer resources for neighbors.  The GHCM Medical Clinic offers an onsite Peers Support Specialist and a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.  The Neighbor Engagement Team, located at the John and Carol de Perczel Whole Life Center, provides referral services, job search assistance, computer and financial literacy and more.

As quoted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), “Recovery is defined as a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential with goals of hope, empowerment, and independence.”

The World Health Organization defines “mental health as a state of well-being in which the induvial realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”  The mission of GHCCM to provide ‘Hope, Help and Healing for all in most need’ summarizes the overall purpose of the ministry.

GHCCM is dependent on grants and financial contributions to continue offering the wide range of support to our community’s most vulnerable neighbors. It is the goal of GHCCM to work together to offer stability to those in crisis and a pathway out of the poverty cycle. For hours of operation, ministry offerings, or to donate, visit GHCCM’s website at For additional information email To volunteer, send your request to