Sun, Feb. 23

Nancy Gardner named project manager for mental health awareness training program

Nancy Gardner

Nancy Gardner

Nancy Gardner has been appointed project manager to coordinate Mental Health Awareness Training to first responders, school personnel, and other partners in the criminal justice system.

In October 2018, Yavapai Sheriff’s Office launched a new program supported by a $375,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and Crisis Intervention Training.

The program is designed to provide community members throughout Yavapai County with the tools to recognize mental health crises and to refer someone in crisis to the proper local resources. The agencies will be using the evidence-based curriculum developed by the National Council on Behavioral Health.

Gardner will work in conjunction with the Justice & Mental Health Coalition Executive Director Beya Thayer, under the direction of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office, to unite with the coalition in accomplishing the goals of the grant.

Gardner brings 27 years of law enforcement background and the relationships she has developed in Yavapai County, along with her experience of managing grants.

Gardner has a master’s degree in education and counseling/human relations from Northern Arizona University.

She will focus on the coordination and collaboration of the stakeholders within Yavapai County to arrange training for law enforcement/emergency services personnel and the Yavapai County school districts, to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and identify the resources available.

Over the next three years, YCSO will facilitate the training for instructors who will be comprised of law enforcement, emergency first responders, educators, and mental health workers. These instructors will then provide the eight-hour MHFA training to first responders and school personnel. The eight-hour training is provided at no cost to participants or sponsoring agencies. Trainers are certified through the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Upcoming instructor training opportunities

YCSO will host the Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor training designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (approximate age 12-18) experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge, or who may be in crisis. YMHFA is primarily designed for adults regularly interacting with young people and introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for helping young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

YCSO will also be facilitating adult Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety instructor training which teaches the same five-step action plan and is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older who are law enforcement and emergency services personnel first responders on how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health-related crisis or problem. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions.

Both instructor courses will occur in February 2019 – dates and times will be announced soon.

Ms. Gardner can be reached at 928-554-8593 or

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website:

Information provided by Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

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