A specialized first aid class is helping Erie county residents spot mental health emergencies.

The first mental health first aid training session took place Monday morning at the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Erie County (NAMI). The training is part of NAMI's effort to train over 1,200 people over the next three years. 

The first aid program teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to the signs of a mental health challenge. 

NAMI received a $375,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which makes the training free to Erie County residents. 

The goal of the training is to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness while preparing community members to help in an emergency. 

Community members can register for upcoming training sessions on NAMI's website or call NAMI of Erie County at (814) 456-1773.