mental health first aid logo

Beacon Specialized Living continues to improve the quality of life for both its residents and employees through continued education and training. One of Beacon’s newest programs, Mental Health First Aid Training, pushes towards that goal.

Basia recently became a certified instructor in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) by taking an eight-hour pre-course, virtual training, and one day of post-training. MHFA is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues. You can find more about this training through the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

She will begin to implement this training for Beacon employees to become certified in MHFA, similar to the CPR certification process. Basia is the only certified trainer in the Scranton region and will help provide the training to community organizations. Most importantly, she will get Beacon-Keystone Management trained in short order and continue to offer it every quarter to staff.

Basia Kosiara, staff member at Beacon-Keystone, smiling. She is a certified instructor for Mental Health First Aid training.
Meet Basia Kosiara, Beacon-Keystone’s Staff Development Coordinator; an employee since 2016. She started as an Administrative Assistant and Specialist in staff development before becoming the Coordinator. She has an MBA in Business Administration and Personnel Management from Warsaw’s Higher School of Management.

MHFA takes the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems.  This is accomplished by improving understanding and providing an action plan that teaches people to identify and address a potential mental illness or substance use disorder safely and responsibly.

When more people are equipped with the tools to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they need. Mental Health First Aiders can even save lives.

“I sincerely enjoy the fact that my job allows me to create and maintain relationships with the individuals we serve and my co-workers who have helped me excel at my job, many of them I can now call friends”

Basia Kosiara

MHFA training will improve the organization by helping staff in leadership roles obtain certification in MHFA and will help retention rates by reducing mental health stigma. It will also increase awareness and help staff recognize the signs of mental health struggles in our employees. Simply put, MHFA teaches how to connect a distressed person with the appropriate resources. So if employees are stressed, depressed, fatigued, or need some help, Beacon staff will have the skills necessary to effectively help them.

MHFA Increases the likelihood that employees will reach out to someone who may be facing mental health or substance use challenges before getting to the point of a breakdown. The program will improve how Beacon cares for individuals and our employees, and it will help employees feel more valuable to the company by knowing that they can reach out for help without judgment. We will also provide employees with the tools to recognize mental health challenges and changes in our individuals.

Not only for Beacon employees, this training will also help our Beacon-Keystone support team reduce behaviors or help achieve independence in our residents. This program will train our employees to recognize Mental Health changes in our individuals. Beacon services promote mental wellness and steps to achieve independence for all its individuals. It will also focus on trauma-informed care and reducing factors in unique environments that can cause re-traumatization.

MHFA training includes the knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to develop and maintain positive mental health, identify challenges in themselves and others, reduce stigma, and seek appropriate help. Beacon helps their employees recognize when a crisis happens and provide them with tools to help or offer support to our individuals and other employees. All these factors will help reduce the incidence of abuse or neglect caused due to employee burnout or mental health crisis. This program aims to achieve and help our No Excuse For Abuse Program – Not One Incident.

For more information on the Mental Health First Aid program, please contact Noelle Snyder at


  • Alexander Furman

    Alex has been the Executive Director of Marketing for Beacon Specialized Living since 2021.