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Youth Mental Health First Aid® to the rescue

May 2022

One in five teens and young adults lives with a mental health condition, but many are reluctant to seek help. Would you be able to spot someone who is struggling?

Blue KC is committed to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. And to respond to the current crisis, we’re training school administrators and students to come to the aid of young people who are experiencing a mental health challenge.

Earlier this year, the Blue KC Behavioral Health Training and Development team presented Youth Mental Health First Aid® to the Blue Valley School District. Blue Valley is the first school district to be trained by our team. We have also conducted training with our employer groups and Blue KC employees.

Pictured: Kristin Gernon, LCSW, LMSW, and Jacie Harris, LMLP, Behavioral Health Training and Development Specialists at Blue KC

What is Youth Mental Health First Aid®? This skills-based training course teaches us how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental and substance use challenges among children and adolescents. It uses a five-step action plan to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Not only does this training help us recognize the common signs and symptoms of this age group – including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – but it also teaches us how to connect youth to the help they need.

In just 12 years, Mental Health First Aid® has become a widespread movement in the United States — more than 2.5 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders®.

This training saves lives. Click here to watch a video of the training session that took place at the Blue Valley School District’s Hilltop Conference Center.

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