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Meredith Peffley Trains More Than 1,000 in MHFA

Having trained more than 1,000 individuals in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in the last three years, Meredith Peffley, a Community Engagement Specialist in Cardinal Innovations Healthcare's Alamance-Caswell region, is one of the top five highest performing MHFA trainers in North Carolina.

MHFA is an eight-hour course that teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives individuals the skills necessary to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who is experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis.

Peffley also has trained nearly 2,000 employees of the N.C. Department of Public Safety in suicide prevention. That's more than any other trainer in the state. The state Department of Public Safety encounters thousands of individuals with behavioral health needs so Peffley has been able to reach a large number of individuals who need help while incarcerated, after they are released from prison or while they are working as employees of the Department of Public Safety.

Peffley uses the trainings as an opportunity to implement standardized screening and referral procedures in agencies that frequently encounter members in need of services and community assistance.

“She has increased the likelihood that a person in need will be helped more quickly and more efficiently than ever before," said Lynn Inman, Manager of Community Engagement in the Alamance-Caswell region. Inman nominated Peffley for a Cardinal Leads Award earlier this year to recognize her outstanding work and leadership.

Peffley also was one of two Cardinal Innovations employees who introduced the idea of co-locating two mental health providers in the largest medical practice in Caswell County.

“Because of her intervention, there are services available on a walk-in basis in a location where members are already seeking services. Again, this change increased the likelihood that a person in need will be helped more quickly and more efficiently than ever before," Inman said.

Peffley, who joined Cardinal Innovations in May 2012, said she has always felt drawn to service and working to help others even as a child.

“By working with the community and training we know we are having a lasting impact even if we don't see the results ourselves," Peffley said about being a trainer. “The work that we do impacts everyone and builds stronger communities. And working in the communities with stakeholders, there's never a dull moment so the job is never boring."

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