CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. -- Cabarrus County officials conducted a survey back in 2016 asking what the needs of the community were.

Officials found that mental health resources were among the top two needs. From that information, county commissioners formed a board to discuss ways to resolve this issue.

The board came up with a "Mental Health First Aid Training" now offered to the public. It's a free 8-hour course that's designed to destigmatize mental illness, help teach the public about the identifiers for different disorders and ultimately get those that need professional attention in the right hands.

On Wednesday, NBC Charlotte's Rachel Lundberg sat down with Marcella Beam who oversees the needs within Cabbarus County.

"If you hear a friend say, 'I'm considering suicide, and they share,' often times, people don't know what to do, and that's scary for people on both sides," Beam said. "The last thing you want to do is to throw your hands up and say, I don't know what to tell you." Which is why and where this training steps in.

NC DETECT reported a 200-percent increase from 2015 to 2017 on the number of emergency room v associated with death by suicide and self-harm. Of that percentage, nearly 25 percent were teens.

Last year within the county, 13 out of 235 people either died by suicide or injured themselves. Beam wants the public to step in and help lower these statistics by taking advantage of this first aid course.

"It really equips people with the skills necessary to look for those signs and symptoms. If people are equipped with skills necessary to identify signs and symptoms early enough that a clinician can make a diagnosis, that can really save someone's life," she said.

The course is open to the public, held monthly at the Cabarrus Health Alliance. Thursday's training will be geared to people dealing with youth.

Those interested in the program can click here for more information.

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