Youth Mental Health First Aid
Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is a public education program that informs participants about the unique risks and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, increases awareness of their implications, and provides instructions for helping an adolescent who may be developing or experiencing such issues. Through role-playing exercises and simulations, it demonstrates how to assess an emotional crisis, provide immediate help, connect them with appropriate resources such as professional, peer, social or self-help services.
YMHFA is tailored for adults who regularly interact with adolescents, such as teachers, school staff, coaches, parents and community group leaders. The curriculum emphasizes the role of first aiders in crisis as “observers,” “supporters” and “bridges,” rather than treating them as mental health professionals or counselors.
Mental health and substance use disorders often coexist, and individuals struggling with mental health issues often turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort. By being better trained in intervening on matters of mental health and providing them with healthy coping mechanisms, we can reduce the number of individuals turning to opioids for assistance.
Over 2.6 million people across the US have completed Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, providing them with the knowledge and skills to identify a mental health or substance use problem, provide initial help, and direct someone toward further treatment if needed. Furthermore, MHFA gives you tools to prevent such issues from arising in the first place.