Participants learn the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents. The program also builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent who is in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.
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.
The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling--rather, participants learn to support youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
The Youth Mental Health First Aid USA curriculum is primarily focused on information participants can use to help adolescents and transition-age youth 12-18. Two to three hours of work will be required in addition to this in-person workshop time.
This workshop will be led by Heather Kendall, outreach manager for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Cook County North Suburban.