WILLISTON, N.D. (KXNET)– If a mental health crisis happened right next to you, would you know what to do?

108,000 North Dakotans suffer from mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Now, to help this large population, the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce is offering Mental Health First Aid classes in hopes to raise awareness — and to help you be prepared if help is not there or is still on the way.

As a bystander, you can do a lot right at the scene to help control the situation.

“The police and the sheriff are getting called in,” said Calli Thorne, a facilitator for the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s helping to break that stigma by getting people to step in and talk about it, and hopefully, stop them from entering crisis situations and getting them the help they need.”

Mental health indicators are a lot different than other types of visible health concerns. Some mental health symptoms to look for are changes in a person’s hygiene and watching someone have a low interest in things that used to be fun.

“When I think about mental health training, I think about how it’s impacted my life, my friends, and my family,” said Thorne.” “People can use this training on a daily or weekly basis. I think it’s much needed, and hopefully, we can keep expanding and training other communities too.”

“It’s important nationwide,” stated Anne Nelson, president of the Williston Area Chamber of Commerce, “especially following the pandemic’s economic hardships. It’s been rough over several years, for so many people.”

Teachers, bystanders, and parents can make an impact by both knowing how to handle a mental health situation, and by being the change we want to see in the world.

The Williston Area Chamber of Commerce says this class can help a lot of people, and be a valuable resource in the community for everyone.