Why Youth Mental Health First Aid?

Why Youth Mental Health First Aid?

January of 2022, R3 Student Outreach announced that we would begin offering Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) certification courses. This marked the first time that programming was developed with a focus on youth workers and not youth directly.

So, why YMHFA? Day to day there are many youth who experience various mind related crisis as school, at home or even around friends. The problem is that while the message and phrasing around "mental health" is widespread, there is still a great lack of education around what mental heath is and what it is not .

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among children and adolescents ages 12-18. Common signs and symptoms of mental health challenges in this age group, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD).

I personally am a Christian and a hispanic. Growing up in a hispanic community and in the faith community I know that talk about mental health crisis is very scarce. It's something that we do not talk about. Its something that we do not prioritize. Its something that is foreign, misundrstood and unknown. It's also something that doesn't particularly fit into the "categories" of the faith. I believe we continue to live in the aftermath of stigma and lack of education across our communities. Who knows how many fatal tragedies could be prevented through teaching rest, empathy and the practice of letting go of our past. 
I cannot express enough how important it is to be educated on how to respond when these crisis occur. Although I personally have not experienced depression, anxiety or many of the mental health crisis we cover in YMHFA, I do have loved ones that I am very close to that do experience these crisis. We also see these crisis in action day to day as we serve our youth. 1 in 5 children's ages 13-18 have or will have a serous mental health illness. 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. With these statistics alone, the cause for Mental Health education must become a priority.

I would venture to say that becoming YMHFA certified should be a priority for you over the next month. There are thousands of youth that need our help! More so, there are thousand of parents who need this knowledge. And you yourself cannot pass on information that you aren't equipped with. In the unpredictability of todays world, it is time for us to become equipped and well resourced in assisting youth and youth adults in crisis. If not YOU, if not ME, then who?

We are proud to provide monthly Youth Mental Health First Aid certification courses as well as team presentations to help bring awareness to mental health crisis. I encourage you to register today and begin your journey in being a lifeline to a youth in need of direction and guidance. 

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