Dana Heiman, Interim CEO, was invited to speak about our nationally recognized Youth Mental Health First Aid Program at the 2017 National Council on Behavioral Health’s Annual Conference in Seattle this month. As part of her presentation, our funders contributed their thoughts to a video produced by high school senior Katie Weiser, our former CYI Summer ServiceCorps Intern. CHECK IT OUT!
Counselors at the coed after-school homework program called Backing Our Young Sons & Giving Girls Guidance have twice intervened after hearing youth discussing suicide.
So have five cafeteria workers at the North Brandywine Middle School after noticing that a student appeared withdrawn and isolated. A year ago the cafeteria workers may not have known what to do, but having learned warning signs and proper assessment at the training session, they promptly referred the student to appropriate personnel to receive help.
Would you know how to help a youth in crisis?
Do you feel strongly about reducing the stigma that surrounds Mental Health Disorders?
Do you know where young people can go for help in our community?
Youth Mental Health First Aid training uses information and knowledge to remove the stigma that so often surrounds mental health issues, by teaching individuals how to properly assess mental health concerns and how to help our youth take the necessary steps to seek treatment when they need it. View Video produced by Katie Weiser, our 2016 CYI Summer ServiceCorps Intern.
A DESPERATE NEED
According to the Pennsylvania Youth Survey Coatesville-area youth suffer from much higher rates of depression compared with youth in the remainder of Chester County and the state as a whole. In addition, children in the Coatesville Area School District (CASD) were disproportionately affected by neglect, abuse, delinquency issues, and low graduation rates.
These statistics demonstrated not only the need for a strong behavioral health system of care, but also the critical importance of prevention and early intervention for the ongoing success of Coatesville youth.
AN ACTION PLAN
Already the funder of two key behavioral health agencies, in 2013 the Brandywine Health Foundation decided to further prioritize behavioral health issues in Coatesville and turned to colleagues at the Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation in Philadelphia for ideas and evidence-based practices. After several meetings, the Brandywine Health Foundation’s staff and board of directors decided to move forward with a plan to bring the Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) curriculum to Coatesville.
YMHFA Training is a FREE 8 Hour training open to any adult living or working in the greater Coatesville area.
YMHFA teaches the knowledge and skills needed to identify, understand, and respond to signs and symptoms of behavioral health challenges or crises. The curriculum provides an overview of the signs and symptoms of various behavioral health challenges such as depression, anxiety, suicide, and substance-use disorders.
The course content also teaches a five-step action plan using the mnemonic “ALGEE,” which 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.
ALGEE is the cornerstone of the curriculum.
YMHFA IN ACTION (as of 6/30/2016)
- 36 Trainings held
- 673 “First Aiders” trained
- 234 teachers , administrators, guidance counselors, school nurses, school police, clerical staff, athletic coaches, cafeteria workers, aides, school bus drivers , etc, from the Coatesville Area School District are certified and we are only halfway through the 4 year pilot program.
- 96% of participants are more comfortable discussing suicide with young people
- 97% of participants recommend this training to family friends and colleagues
- 30% increase in referrals at Child Guidance Resource Centers.
Training Dates and More Information