UW Mental Health Awareness Trainer Receives National Recognition

woman standing outside
Klancy Poor

The University of Wyoming Half Acre Recreation and Wellness Center’s Klancy Poor has been recognized among the top mental health first aid (MHFA) instructors in the nation for training others in the UW campus and Laramie communities.

Poor, a UW Wellness Center and Campus Recreation mental health awareness training program coordinator, received the recognition from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. Poor was recognized as a “Top MHFA Instructor 2023 for Teaching the Most First Aiders in Wyoming.”

MHFA is a comprehensive training program that teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use concerns among adults by teaching participants de-escalation and crisis intervention strategies.

According to Poor’s award, instructors are “the heart and soul of MHFA.”

“Your hard work empowers people across the country to support each other in times of need or crisis. Your accomplishments and contributions push us forward toward our goal to train one out of every 15 people in America in MHFA,” according to the award.

“Since taking this position, I have helped to train over 350 UW community members in mental health first aid,” says Poor, who received a degree in kinesiology and health promotion from UW in 2022. “This would not have been possible without support from the Wellness Center, SAMHSA and various UW departments, such as the UCC and WYSAC. They deserve just as much credit as I do.”

SAMHSA is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and the UCC and WYSAC are the University Counseling Center and the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center, both at UW.

In her training position, Poor has “consistently showcased an unparalleled commitment to excellence and professionalism.”

“Notably, she successfully trained an impressive number of participants in a remarkably short time frame, underscoring her efficiency and dedication to fostering a mentally resilient community,” says Aleah Biertzer, AWARE Programs coordinator for Campus Recreation, who nominated Poor for the award. “Through her efforts, meaningful conversations on mental health have surged, resulting in increased referrals to relevant providers and a palpable positive impact on the well-being of our community members.”

Poor also has played a pivotal role in expanding mental health outreach by enhancing instructor recruitment, ensuring that the knowledge and skills of MHFA are widely disseminated.

“Her proactive approach to building community partnerships has not only strengthened existing collaborations, but also has fostered new connections that amplify the reach and effectiveness of MHFA initiatives,” Biertzer adds. “Klancy truly embodies excellence and professionalism in her coordination of MHFA, leaving an indelible mark on the well-being of our community."

Since October 2021, the UW Campus Recreation and the Wellness Center MHFA program has been funded through a SAMHSA mental health awareness grant. Grant funding continues through September 2026.

MHFA training is available to all UW and Laramie community members, and courses can be found on the center’s website and program registration page.

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