Challenge Award 2017: “P.R.E.P.A.R.E.D.” Program
UTMRC’s People Ready Emotionally & Physically and Able to Respond to Emergencies and Disasters (PREPARED) Program aimed to strengthen the community’s ability to prepare, respond, and recover from incidents. The PREPARED program strengthened our community in the following ways:
- Trained members of the Austin community in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
- Conducted weekly mindfulness and yoga sessions for the community
- Trained healthcare professionals in Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS)
- Taught children and parents about individual emergency preparedness
We have continued our partnership with Austin Travis County’s behavioral health department, Integral Care, to provide four MHFA (8-hour) trainings for the community. We aimed for participants to learn to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and chemical dependency disorders. Participants in the trainings earned a 3-year certification in MHFA.
We also continued our partnership with UT Recreational Sports and Austin Mindfulness Center to offer weekly meditation and yoga sessions, and we expanded sessions into local high schools and healthcare facilities as requested from our participants, which highlighted a need for mental health support beyond the UT campus.
UTMRC members had requested mass casualty training in a recent survey; therefore, we offered UTMRC members and UT community two Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS) training (8-hour). We coordinated with instructors from National Disaster Life Support (NDLS) to offer the BDLS course.
Lastly, as being a part of an academic institution, UTMRC participated annually in the university’s largest open house, Explore UT. UTMRC offered a class for children and their parents during Explore UT about how to make a “go bag”.
Our PREPARED project had multiple levels of influence: individual, family, and community.
Funding for the 2017-2018 PREPARED program was provided by the National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO) Challenge Award.