Free training in place to help younger people, 12 to 18, who may suffer from emotional or other mental health problems

July 17, 2018

Youth Mental Health First Aid USA, a free, eight-hour public education and training program, gets underway Monday, July 23 from 9 a.m., to 5 p.m., at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

 

With a curriculum primarily focused on presenting information participants can use to help adolescents and transition-age youth, anyone 18 or older can take the course, but it is recommended for those who regularly have contact with young people, ages 12 to 18, such as, teachers, coaches, social workers, faith leaders and other caring citizens. 

 

Offered by Virginia Beach Behavioral Health and Wellness Prevention Services, seating is limited to 24 participants and registration is required. 

 

"The program introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, building understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge," said city spokesperson Wendy Voliva. "The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social and self-help care."

 

Program participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling; rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan.

 

The course also teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder, said Voliva. 

 

Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling; rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan.

 

The program's action plan includes:

 

Assessing for risk of suicide or harm.

 

Listen non-judgmentally.

 

Give reassurance and information.

 

Encourage appropriate professional help.

 

Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

 

For more information or to register call Vanessa Harvey at 757-385-0803 or email vharvey@vbgov.com.

 

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