Abilene mental health authorities are hoping to shine a light on mental illness.

A class called “Mental Health First Aide,” was held at the Betty Hardwick Center.

“It’s not something that people are very comfortable talking about openly,” CEO Jenny Goode said.

Goode said the class is offered to anyone who wants to attend.

“The goal of the class is to help people understand the different types of behavioral health issues that people in our community face,” Goode said.

They gave attendees information about what signs to look for.

“Everything from serious mental illness, substance abuse,” Goode said.

Their goal is to help the community understand mental illness and seek intervention.

Staff said these lessons can save lives.

“Treatment is very effective and can be very helpful,” Goode said.

Many people are affected in some way.

“One in four people will experience some sort of mental health condition over the course of their life. Sometimes these are not long lasting,” Goode said.

One of things people are being taught to identify is depression.

“Person might withdraw, they may seem to have a sudden change in their interest in other activities or other people,” Goode said.

She said the first step is to know your role as a community member.

“To just make it more of a common subject for people to talk about more openly,” Goode said.

She encourages anyone with a concern to call their hotline.

The crisis line is 1-800-758-3344.