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Reflections on Training: Youth Mental Health First Aid

Posted by Sam Lovett on January 12, 2016 at 10:55 AM

“The goals of Youth Mental Health First Aid are twofold—to teach members of the public how to respond in a mental health emergency with youth and young adults and to offer support to a young person who appears to be in emotional distress,” was the opening message of this weekend's training.

 

A large group of youth workers, parents, priests, healthcare providers, non-profit workers, and other professionals gathered for a course in Youth Mental Health First Aid sponsored by the Office of Youth Ministry and Grace Church, Medford. The training focused on how to provide initial help to young people experiencing mental health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, psychosis, and substance use disorders.

 

 

Based on the CPR model, the training included various role plays and case studies that helped us to consider different situations of concern, to assess patterns of behavior, and to think about how to help young people engage appropriate mental health services.

 

Part of the training's focus is enabling participants to help others break through the stigma surrounding mental health challenges that many people experience. The course instructor stressed that it is not our job as mental health first aiders to diagnose mental illness. It is our job to notice what is happening in a young person’s life and to help process what we see with youth and parents and others who care about the young person.

 

For example, part of our commitment to good mental health includes not being afraid to talk with young people about their behaviors. Asking “what helps you manage your stress,” or “what helps you to cope with a tough situation,” are simple questions that can help lead toward increased self-realization and self-esteem. Your concern and interest models good behavior in a way that shows without instructing.

 

“This training is about doing the best we can for young people with the current models that have proven most effective,” were some of the closing words of the training. We left Grace Church with a strong working understanding of mental health that will help us work more confidently in our respective communities.

 

If you are interested in attending future trainings, please contact the office of Youth Ministry and ask to be notified when a training is scheduled.

Categories: Talking Shop

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