WAKEFIELD — In addition to the ‘core’ Adult Mental Health First Aid class, the National Council for Behavioral Health has a curriculum focused on helping adolescents and transition-age youth (ages 12-18) who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or in a crisis and Gogebic Community Mental Health is hosting this training on Wednesday, May 10. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an evidenced-based, public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly, teaches individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge and to safely deescalate the situation, if needed. 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. With the goal of improving mental health for everyone, reducing stigma around mental illness, and helping people who may be at risk of suicide or selfharm and referring them to appropriate treatment, this 8- hour course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, substance use, and disorders in which psychosis may occur. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling, rather, participants learn a core five-step action plan (ALGEE) to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in an emotional crisis: (1) Assess for risk of suicide or harm; (2) Listen nonjudgmentally (3) Give reassurance and information; (4) Encourage appropriate professional help; and (5) Encourage self-help and other support strategies. The course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents, but may also be appropriate for older adolescents (16 and older) so as to encourage youth peer to peer interaction. Anyone who regularly works or interacts with youth, such as teachers, athletic coaches, mentors, juvenile justice professionals, etc., are highly encouraged to attend this training. Since 2008, the core (adult) MHFA training has been successfully offered to hundreds of thousands of people across the US, and since 2009, Gogebic CMH has successfully provided many classes to a variety of Gogebic County audiences including hospital staff, employers, business leaders, faith communities, law enforcement, parents, and the general public. Of special note regarding this training, Youth Mental Health First Aid is not specifically designed for parents of youth with mental health challenges. Although parents and families may find the course content useful, the course provides a basic level of information and guidance, rather than more in-depth information on navigating the healthcare system, which parents may wish to explore themselves. Specific audiences strongly encouraged to attend this Youth MHFA training include non-mental health professionals, such as law enforcement and other first responders, school and college administration, to include teachers and support staff, care givers, community service groups, clergy, and the general public. This free training is scheduled for Wednesday, May 10 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (lunch included) at the CMH building in Wakefield. Registrations are limited and to register for the training, contact Missy Lane at CMH at 906-229-6105 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. Mental Health First Aid USA 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 and additional information regarding MHFA can be obtained by visiting mentalhealthfirstaid.org or thenationalcouncil.org.
CMH to offer Mental Health First Aid Training