Parents, Teachers, Others Urged to ‘Be The Difference’
Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara County, Mental Wellness Center, and the Youthwell Coalition have partnered to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings that gives adults who work with youth an action plan for reaching out and offering appropriate support for a young people experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. The popular trainings began in South County last year, and are now being offered in Santa Maria and Lompoc.
“Twenty-seven percent of teens in our county experience chronic sadness and depression, but many are reluctant to seek help or unsure where to turn for care,” said Lisa Brabo, Family Service Agency Executive Director. “Parents, teachers, and others who work with youth ages 12-18 are encouraged to ‘Be The Difference’ and support these youth.”
Just as CPR teaches community members to help when a person is having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to help a youth with a mental health issue and connect them to appropriate care. Recently, several teachers and staff members from the Lompoc Unified School District (LUSD) and the Santa Maria Bonita School District (SMBSD) were trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid.
“Staff and counselors participating in the Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings have learned many ways to assist youth in need of mental health support,” said Mark Muller, SMBSD Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services. “They’ve learned to recognize warnings signs as well as when and how to intervene.”
“The Mental Health First Aid Class will help our community have more resources to help those in crisis and prevent tragedies from happening in our schools,” said Christine Santi, a science teacher at Lompoc High School.
Additional trainings for Lompoc and Santa Maria community members and school district employees are scheduled in March and April, including courses taught in Spanish.
March 14 Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (taught in Spanish)
March 24 Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (English)
March 25 Santa Maria Bonita School District (English)
April 4 Dorothy Jackson Family Resource Center in Lompoc (Spanish)
April 4 Lompoc location TBD (English)
April 29 Lompoc Unified School District
For additional training dates and more information on the Youth Mental Health First Aid program, and how to “Be The Difference” visit BeTheDifferenceSB.org.
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 county. 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 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.