"I had two students who told me they wanted to commit suicide and instead of panicking or feeling like I have to stop them, I had the tools to effectively handle the situation."
- Training Participant
Youth Mental Health First Aid is a day-long workshop that limits enrollment to a maximum of 30 individuals in each training session. It is considered the “gold standard” in mental health awareness training, with numerous publications supporting increased participant knowledge and confidence and decreased stigma post-training (e.g., Haggerty et al., 2018; Rose et al., 2019; Noltemeyer, 2019).
- Introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents
- Builds understanding of the importance of early intervention
- Teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge
Youth Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
This curriculum was designed by Mental Health First Aid USA, www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org, which worked with experts at the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development to develop the youth program. Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education (AWARE) grants promote youth mental health awareness among schools and communities and improve connections to services for school-age youth. CLD’s free trainings on Youth Mental Health First Aid are made possible through Project AWARE, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant.
What will participants learn?
The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
The Youth Mental Health First Aid curriculum is primarily focused on information participants can use to help adolescents and transition-age youth, ages 12-18.
Who Should Be Trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid?
Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, coaches, childcare staff, church leaders, youth group leaders, law enforcement, volunteers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.
Where Can I Sign Up for a Course?
To find and register for a course in Georgia hosted through the CLD, please e-mail Susanna Miller-Raines at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I Host a Course?
To learn more about hosting a Youth Mental Health First Aid training session, call 404-413-9334 or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
"Since taking the course a couple days ago, I find myself assessing the young men I work with with more compassion and insight."
"I have used the course information to better serve my students, my own children and family members, and to know myself better. I have been able to better understand motivations behind the actions of students and have been able to recognize when myself and others are in need of mental health supports."
"I’m not too quick to discipline as a first response to behavior issues. I try to understand why the child is acting out."
"I have educated parents in dealing with their children who have a mental disorder. I have also given strategies to teachers who have students with disorders in their classroom."