It’s easy to see a cut or skinned knee and you know what to do about that. Basic first aid teaches us to clean the area and place a bandage on it. What do you do when there is an emotional problem? Then what? That answer is not so obvious. There is now an opportunity to assist the public to understand the emotional pain of mental illness and help those who are experiencing symptoms to seek help before it is too late.
1 in 5 Americans has a mental illness and many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Often the symptoms are difficult to detect – even when friends believe there is something not quite the same about them. They don’t know how to approach the subject. Frequently they are not certain they are seeing what they think they are seeing. Is it a problem or is it just them “being them”?
Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) helps to demystify mental illness and gives participants the ability to better understand what they are seeing in a youth and how to approach the subject in a non-threatening manner. YMHFA is not designed to teach participants to be counselors, but rather to help participants recognize symptoms and assist the individual to get to a trained counselor.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) has only been taught in the United States for five years. To become one of the 2,500 certified trainers in the United States you are required to complete a 40 hour course. MHFA focuses on adults, their symptoms and how to approach and help them. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach how to help a child or teen that is experiencing a mental health or substance abuse problem or is in crisis. COPE Center has three YMHFA Certified Trainers. They are able to teach educators, first responders, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, employers, business leaders, family members, civic organizations, faith based groups and other organizations who wish to learn how to identify a youth in distress.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid course is an 8 hour course taught by one of COPE Center’s certified instructors. At the completion of the course you will receive a certificate in Youth Mental Health First Aid. For information about the course and to schedule your group, please call Wanda Coley at 892-8290 or dial 2-1-1.