Mental health interest increasing since Tucson shooting

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The interest in mental health has risen in the last month after Jared Loughner's shooting rampage.

Tuesday, people from all over town are learning how to deal with people suffering from mental health issues.

A packed house today at the Southern Arizona mental health corporation in midtown, with dozens of people determined to help ensure Tucson never faces another day like January 8.

"We have a 12 hour training going on at the moment, it is a certification program for those who wish to become mental health first aiders," said National Mental Health Trainer Mary Cimini.

The conference trains them how to recognize someone who's having mental health issues or may be developing one.

"Symptoms can show themselves in a variety of different ways.  We want people to be very attendant and present to anything that may be out of the ordinary," said Mary Cimini.

Trainers say mental health problems occur as often as physical illness, with one in four people being diagnosed.

The first step is encouraging someone to get help and take some action.

"You're more likely to encounter someone who's experiencing a mental health problem then someone who may be choking or experiencing a need for CPR," said Cimini.

After the January 8, shootings, awareness and interest in mental health issues are on the rise.

"As it relates to people having an interest in mental health first aid, yes, I think the tragedy was, regrettably, something that was a catalyst for more interest," said Cimini.

They're hoping what they learn will help prevent another tragedy.