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Wednesday, Feb 1, 2023

Student-led organization set to hold mental health training

Mercer Neuroscience Organization plans to host a mental health certification training.
Mercer Neuroscience Organization plans to host a mental health certification training.

The Mercer Neuroscience Organization (MNO) will be holding a mental health first aid training program Feb. 23 and 24.

It’s an eight-hour lecture-based program split between a Saturday and a Sunday. If students enrolled can pass the culminating exam on Sunday, they will earn a certification in mental health first aid that will last for three years.

MNO co-founders Keerthika Ravikumar and Manvi Manyam pushed for the program despite financial setbacks. Currently, the program costs $10 for the first 22 students enrolled and $55 for every student after that, with an overall cap of 40 students.

However, when MNO was first talking numbers, the cost of admission was projected to be $75.

“We were looking for an instructor who was in Macon, experienced and would be cheap for us,” Ravikumar said. “We found someone who’s had years of training and who was asking for $45 per student.”  

MNO reached out to the Student Government Association (SGA) and received $1,000 in Bear Grants, which helped bridge the gap between the cost and what most students would be able to afford.

The course, taught by Dr. Julia Davis, will cover the symptoms of different mental disorders, prescription drug abuse, opioid overdose and mental health resources specific to Macon.

“I hope people will stop seeing disorders like depression, bipolar, substance abuse, etc. as ‘made up’ and recognize that these individuals cannot help how they feel or act sometimes because of structural differences in their brain anatomy,” Manyam said.

While this year’s program has already reached its 40-person cap, Ravikumar and Manyam are looking ahead to next year.

“Hopefully next year we can ask Bear Grants for more money, or partner with other organizations so we’ll be able to offer it to more students at a cheaper price,” Ravikumar said. “This is a first trial thing… we’re definitely going to be doing it next year.”

The location for the event has still yet to be determined by Mercer reservations.


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