CONCORD — Youth Mental Health First Aid is a training class offered by the Bureau of Student Wellness at the New Hampshire Department of Education. The training is designed to guide parents, educators, and others who regularly interact with young people through non-crisis and crisis mental health situations. In December 2018, the number of first aid trainees reached 3,524.

Another 56 instructors were trained in collaboration with organizations including Merrimack County Juvenile Services, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, and the Community Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester. More will be trained this year.

Youth Mental Health First Aid introduces attendees to common mental health challenges for young people and reviews adolescent development information. The class offers a five-step plan to assisting adolescents from 12 to 18 who may suffer from anxiety, depression, substance misuse, disruptive behavior disorders, and other disorders. Youth Mental Health First Aid is also now a recommendation of the Governor's School Safety Preparedness Taskforce.

“Equipping parents, educators and community members to effectively support the children in our state helps everyone,” said Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of NH DOE. “We want our children, communities and state to have resilience to not just endure, but thrive even when life confronts us with difficult circumstances.” 

The course has been offered by the bureau since 2014 and is funded by Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education grants.

Upcoming Youth Mental Health First Aid courses will be held at the New Hampshire Department of Education in Londergan Hall, Room 15, 101 Pleasant St., on Thursday, March 7 and Friday, March 8, from noon to 4 p.m.; and Friday, May 31, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The courses are free of charge.

For more information about Youth Mental Health First Aid, visit www.nhstudentwellness.org/ymhfa.html.

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