People Incorporated Training Institute providing mental health curriculum for 10-County pilot project in southern MN

Published 6:01 pm Wednesday, May 13, 2020

People Incorporated Mental Health Services’ Training Institute is partnering with the CREST (Collaborative Resources Education Services and Technology) Regional Management Team to offer core mental health training courses free of charge to its members.

The CREST Regional Management Team is comprised of mental, behavioral and substance use providers from the Minnesota Prairie County Alliance (Dodge, Steele and Waseca counties) and Olmsted, Mower, Fillmore, Wabasha, Houston, Winona and Goodhue counties. The group uses a regional lens to identify challenges, priorities and solutions to assist and encourage mental health consumers to live as independently as possible and support them through mental health recovery.

The collaboration with People Incorporated is funded through a grant from the Otto Bremer Trust. It came to fruition because CREST’s Regional Coordinator Tim Hunter needed a cost-effective solution for training members who span a 10-county region.

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“As a region, we wanted to ensure the individuals working across our communities in the mental health field had the same access to the knowledge and tools to effectively support individuals and families in achieving mental wellness,” Hunter said. “Getting curriculum from the Training Institute allows us to offer exceptional courses to practitioners in our entire region – giving us a common language and set of tools to serve people even better going forward.”

The pilot project kicked off on May 6 with a session called “Working with People with Co-Occurring Disorders” and was attended by 135 CREST members.

The Eagan-based Training Institute, which launched in 2018, offers high-quality learning experiences – in-person and virtually – for mental health professionals and the public on topics related to mental and behavioral health. The institute has trained thousands of individuals from dozens of organizations, including Optum, the Minneapolis and St. Paul police departments, and Minneapolis Animal Care & Control.

The CREST curriculum is designed for the team’s unique challenges and needs, and will be offered virtually so members across the 10-county region have access no matter where they’re based.

“Working with the CREST Regional Management Team is the perfect model for us,” said Russ Turner, director and lead trainer of the Training Institute. “Providing a tailored curriculum for their practitioners who are spread for miles is what our virtual courses are designed to do. We’re eager to see how the region is impacted from having this shared resource among practitioners.”

The curriculum is made up of 10 courses, including “Working with People with Co-Occuring Disorders,” “Writing Person Centered Treatment Plans” and “Compassion Fatigue.”

In observance of Mental Health Awareness Month, the full catalogue of Training Institute courses are discounted 20 percent for the month of May. The Training Institute is also partnering with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southeast Minnesota this month to offer free classes, including “Gratitude” on May 18.

“We value partnerships highly,” Turner said. “We’re always open to new ones and encourage anyone who is looking for mental and behavioral resources for their staff to reach out.”

For more information about the Training Institute, visit