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  • Meredith Shaw

Caring Adults -- Get Trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

By Windi Bowditch, LMHC, Director of Clinical Training and Consultation at Northshore Education Consortium and TTC Staff

Sometimes first aid isn't a bandage, CPR or calling 911. Sometimes it's YOU. Youth Mental Health First Aid training... Take a course. Save a life. Strengthen your community. Get certified.

Pre-pandemic, the mental health needs of our youth were rising. One in five youth between 13 and 18 experienced a mental health disorder. (National Alliance on Mental Illness) And, suicide is now the second leading cause of death for individuals between 15 and 24. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The global pandemic has negatively impacted youth mental health. An August 2021 report published in JAMA Pediatrics of US and global studies involving over 80,000 kids and teens (ages 4- 17) summarized the significant toll on youth mental health from January 2020 - March 2021. “Older children had more mental health struggles than younger ones, and were at greater risk for both depression and anxiety.” The report showed that youth mental health problems were “acute in the United States as in the rest of the world.” 1 in 4 youth are suffering from depression while 1 in 5 are struggling with anxiety. (US News, 8/9/2021) In 2020, mental health related ER visits among adolescents aged 12 - 17 increased 31% over the same period in 2019. In February and March 2021the number ER visits for suspected suicide attempts among girls aged 12 - 17 increased 50% over the same period in 2019. (CDC, June 2021)

The stress of life in the world of social media, meeting high academic achievement goals, a world that anticipates catastrophe, the high levels of anxiety, and navigating the challenges, loss and grief of a global pandemic is taking a toll on our teenagers.

But, we can help!

As adults, the more information we have enables us to help reduce stigma surrounding mental health as well as be more effective in supporting our teenagers to build resilience as they navigate the complicated world of adolescence. The Youth Mental Health First Aid training is one way to learn how to do that. Developed by the National Council on Behavioral Health, the training is a comprehensive 8 hour curriculum that helps participants learn about the challenges of adolescent development, common mental health challenges experienced in adolescence and the signs and symptoms of someone who may be experiencing a mental health/substance abuse challenge or crisis. The training provides a 5 step action plan that helps define and highlight those skills and tools that are important when working with teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 years old. This includes resources and types of support services that are available in our community, as well as discussing suicide and other crisis situations. While the subject matter is critically important and serious, the training is interactive, informative and fun. Anyone can attend -especially those who regularly interact with youth. The more adults in our communities who have this knowledge and information the better we can help youth, whether it is where we live or where we work. This training provides tools that allow us to support youth in any role; on the job, at home, with family members, the next door neighbors’ children or the kids on the team.

Please come join us! October 26th and 27th from 9 - 1:30PM at Trinity Church in Topsfield. This free training is generously funded by the Tower Foundation and space is limited. More information and link to register HERE.

Training qualifies for 8 PDP's through the Northshore Education Consortium. Covid safety protocols will be followed. Thank you to our community partner Trinity Episcopal Church for generously providing the space for this training.

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