MHAW A Project of the Association for Mental Health & Wellness

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Why Youth Mental Health First Aid?

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This 8-hour training gives adults who work with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to adolescents (ages 12-1 8) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care.

  • 64.1% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment.
  • 1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition.
  • 5.13% of youth report having a substance use or alcohol problem.

Who should take it?

  • Teachers
  • School staff
  • Coaches
  • Camp counselors
  • Youth group leaders
  • Parents
  • People who work with youth

What it covers.

  • Common signs and symptoms of mental illnesses in this age group, including:
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Eating disorders
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Common signs and symptoms of substance use.
  • How to interact with an adolescent in crisis.
  • How to connect the adolescent with help.

“As adults, we sometimes forget how hard it was being an adolescent. When we see a kid who is just miserable at school, we might think they choose to be that way – or that it’s just part of adolescence. But in fact, they might be in a mental health crisis, one they certainly did not choose and do not want. When a teacher says, ‘How can I be helpful?’ that is a powerful question.”
— Alyssa Fruchtenicht, School-based Mental Health Counselor