Licensed Social Worker Emily Jordan addressed attendees at the eight-hour Youth Mental Health First Aid Course, conducted at the Westerville City School District’s Early Learning Center on January 3.
Before students in the Westerville City School District started back to classes on January 4, 30 educators and police professionals spent Teacher Professional Day at the Early Learning Center in an eight-hour course titled Youth Mental Health First Aid. There, they learned about ALGEE, a mental health first aid action plan that stands for Assess for risk of suicide or harm; Listen nonjudgmentally; Give reassurance and information; Encourage appropriate professional help; and Encourage self-help and other support strategies. The program was provided by the Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success, the Ohio Department of Education and Miami University, with funding from The Project Aware Initiative. Lead instructors were Tyrrea Byrd and Emily Jordan.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) workshop is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human service workers, and other caring citizens how to help adolescents (age 12-18) who are experiencing a mental health or addiction challenges or are in crisis. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. MHFA training is an evidence-based practice, which has been demonstrated to reduce stigma and provides lay people who have no mental health background with tools to help people in their communities. Because they took this course, attendees will also receive ongoing resources and supports for the school and community that include information briefs, school and community Continuum of Services Mapping, Effective Programs and Practices, Pockets of Excellence and professional webinars.
Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.