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Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Mental health is an approach to supporting students that is braided within a school's multi-tiered system of support, called PBIS. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. 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. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders.

The course trains participants to help people who may be experiencing a mental health problem or crisis. You learn

  • risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems;
  • information on depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and addiction disorders;
  • a five-step action plan to help someone developing a mental health problem or in crisis; and
  • where to turn for help – professional, peer, and self-help resources.

Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack – even if you have no clinical training – Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

Topics Covered

Before you can know how to help, you need to know when to help. We call this mental health literacy – or a basic understanding of what different mental illnesses and addictions are, how they can affect a person’s daily life, and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges to get well. Participants will also learn about how mental health fits within their school's multi-tiered system of support, called PBIS.

Participants will learn:

  • To understand the prevalence of various mental health disorders impacting youth and the need for reduced stigma in communities.
  • To recognize the warning signs of mental health problems that may impact youth.
  • To understand the risk and protective factors that can impact a youth’s mental health and resiliency.
  • To apply a five-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess a situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions and to help the youth in crisis connect with appropriate treatments and supports.
  • To identify and access the community resources available to support youth and their families.

Participants will learn about the following disorders:

  • depression and mood disorders,
  • anxiety disorders,
  • trauma,
  • psychosis, and
  • substance use disorders.

Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Information Flyer

Training Enrollment

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses.

Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings are being offered throughout the year. Seats are limited to 30 participants per session; priority is given to schools participating in the Project AWARE grant and administrators who have not attended a training.  

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Brian Rudolph (414-475-8657).


YMHFA Coordinator
Brian Rudolph
Phone: 414-475-8657


Director of the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data:

Dr. Melanie Stewart
Phone: 414-475-8751


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