Parents, teachers, and Santa Barbara County professionals who work with youth ages 12-18 are encouraged to participate in a free, upcoming Youth Mental Health First Aid training. The popular course teaches participants how to support youth struggling with a mental health or substance abuse problem. Free online trainings are being offered from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 4th, May 20th, June 3rd, June 15th, July 8th, July 20th, August 10th and August 19th.
Just as CPR teaches community members to help when a person is having a heart attack, Youth Mental Health First Aid training gives people the tools to identify when a young person might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem. Mental health first-aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support. They also learn the impact of traumatic experiences on adolescent development. Participants receive a three-year certification from the National Council for Behavioral Health.
“It’s been a traumatic year. Youth have been impacted by school closures and social distancing guidelines, and they may not be forthcoming about any difficulties they are experiencing,” says Annmarie Cameron, Chief Executive Officer for the Mental Wellness Center. “Adults can make a huge difference by getting trained on how to respond to mental health concerns in a young person. Our goal is to train 500 additional community members this year.”
The classes are provided by Family Service Agency, Mental Wellness Center, and the Youthwell Coalition. For additional information, visit BetheDifferenceSB.org or call (805) 884-8440.
About Mental Health First Aid
The National Council for Behavioral Health was instrumental in bringing Mental Health First Aid to the USA and more than 1 million individuals have been trained. To learn more about Mental Health First Aid USA, visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org.
Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County (FSA) is a nonprofit social service agency that has served the people of Santa Barbara County since 1899. Operating as Santa Maria Valley Youth and Family Center (SMVYFC) in Santa Maria and Little House By The Park (LHP) in Guadalupe, FSA helps the community’s most vulnerable children, families, and seniors meet their basic needs while simultaneously addressing mental health needs. Through this holistic approach, FSA improves the strength and well-being of our community. All services are provided free or on a sliding fee/donation scale and no one is denied assistance because of an inability to pay. Visit fsacares.org or call (805) 965-1001 for more information.
The Mental Wellness Center (MWC) is the non-profit organization that recognizes mental illness is a community matter affecting us all. Providing education and support, MWC is dedicated to meeting the immediate and future needs of our Youth, Adults, Families, and the greater Community. Visit mentalwellnesscenter.org for more information.
YouthWell Coalition is focused on improving prevention, education, and early intervention outreach in Santa Barbara County, in order to connect youth, ages 12-25, and their families to mental health supports before the crisis. Youthwell is committed to mobilizing community stakeholders, service providers, schools, and caregivers, in order to create a coordinated and comprehensive care response system. Visit youthwell.org for more information.