Jill Kluesner always knew she wanted to go into a field where she could help people create the best life for themselves. Through her business, Jill Kluesner Consulting, LLC, she focuses on projects that increase mental health literacy all over the country.
As a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, she teaches an 8-hour course that provides training on how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. “What excites me most about this work is when a past training participant says, ‘Thank you, your class gave me the confidence to reach out and help someone in my life,’” Kluesner says.
Though she has taught over 100 courses reaching over 2,500 individuals across the state of Iowa, she loves to teach in her hometown of Dyersville where so many training participants are also friends, family and neighbors. “There is a strong culture in our community of supporting one another through tough times,” she says. “Mental Health First Aid is a great course for small communities, as the foundation of support is already laid.”
In 2007, Kluesner received her Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Iowa. Though she enjoyed working directly with consumers, she was interested in pursuing work that had potential systemic impact. To learn more about advancing efforts in the mental health field at a macro level, she obtained a Certificate in Public Health from the UI College of Public Health in 2012. The Certificate in Public Health is a 12-semester hour program designed to strengthen basic knowledge and skills in essential public health competencies.
Kluesner works on many different behavioral health related projects. As a National Trainer for Mental Health First Aid with the National Council for Behavioral Health, she teaches and certifies individuals all over the country in the Mental Health First Aid curriculum. This allows individuals to then go back to their communities and teach Mental Health First Aid courses locally. She has provided trainings in 30 states including Alaska and Hawaii. She also works on a UI project that focuses on providing professional development opportunities for Peer Support Specialists in the state of Iowa.
She says, “Each day is new and exciting but the goal is always the same – increase mental health literacy so we can continue to do better.”