OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – River Valley Behavioral Health is providing community trainings and holding an art contest to help raise awareness about the importance of mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. The health center offers Mental Health First-Aid and Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) community trainings at no cost to participants year-round.

“This month, we are excited to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid training to staff at Owensboro Public Schools,” says Director of the Regional Prevention Center Brooke Arnold. “This evidence-based training will provide schoolteachers and administrators with the skills necessary to reach out and provide support to a student who may be experience a mental health or substance abuse crisis. Last year, our team trained hundreds of individuals from our community in Mental Health First Aid, which includes teachers, business owners, and members from our faith-based community.”

Mental Health First-Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Both adult and youth mental health first aid courses are offered.

QPR training helps participants learn the warning sides of suicide and how to question, persuade and refer someone to get help. More information about trainings can be learned by emailing training@rvbh.com.

River Valley is now accepting submissions for its 2nd Annual Youth Mental Health Art Contest. Students from kindergarten through college in the seven counties served by River Valley are invited to submit a visual art piece to promote mental health awareness with the theme “Be Kind to Your Mind.”

The Project of the Year winner in each division (K-6, 7-12, College ages 18-24) will be awarded $500 and a certificate. A matching contribution will be awarded for the school or non-profit youth organization selected by the winners. The school or youth organization with the most entries will receive $1,000 and the Mental Health Partner of the Year award.

“May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This month, we invite students to enter our art contest and share the importance of being kind to your mind,” says River Valley’s President & CEO Dr. Wanda Figueroa Peralta. “We hope that this will provide an opportunity for families and educators to start a conversation about mental health with youth. We appreciate our young artists for sharing their talents to spread a message of hope.”

Students can download an entry form at www.rvbh.com or email contest@rvbh.com. Entries must be received by May 20. Contest winners will be announced at an award ceremony in June.

River Valley Behavioral Health serves the counties of Daviess, Ohio, McLean, Hancock, Webster, Union and Henderson. They currently host over 27 programs that include in-patient and outpatients services for families impacted by mental health, alcohol and drug addictions and developmental disabilities.

River Valley’s services can be contacted at (270) 689-6879 or (800) 769-4920 for the hearing impaired. River Valley’s Crisis Line can be reached at (800) 433-7291 for those in crisis and non-medical emergencies.

Director of Communications Jessica Pierce can be contacted at (270) 689-6540 or emailed at Pierce-Jessican@rvbh.com for more information.