Youth Mental Health First Aid offered by TriCity Wellness Services.

Youth Mental Health First Aid offered by Tri City Mental Health Services. Teen depression, suicide and other mental health issues have become a part of the national conversation. This was the motivation behind the first IHPC Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training workshop for teens who want to better understand the issues, recognize the signs, and learn how to help friends or family who may be suffering. In fact, so many teens wanted to participate in the two-day course, that we had to offer a second date scheduled for later this summer. (Apply online). 

Teen depression, suicide and other mental health issues have become a part of the national conversation. This was the motivation behind the first IHPC Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training workshop for teens who want to better understand the issues, recognize the signs, and learn how to help friends or family who may be suffering. In fact, so many teens wanted to participate in the two-day course, that we had to offer a second date scheduled for later this summer. 

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Our partners at TriCity Wellness Center opened their doors to these students, teaching them the how to recognize the signs of mental illness and suicide and raised their awareness about the depth of the issue. Students were trained in the MHFA Action Plan called A.L.G.E.E. which stands for Assess (risk of suicide or harm), Listen (non-judgementally), Give (reassurance and information), Encourage (appropriate professional help), and Encourage (self help and other supports). Each student participated in scenarios which helped where they used the action plan to identify the issue and offer help and resources. 

Lora Illeg and Sally Sagario, represtatives from NAMI shared personal stories of mental health illness.

Lora Illeg and Sally Sagario, represtatives from NAMI shared personal stories of mental health illness.

There were several keynote speakers who offered the students a first-person perspective on living with and someone with mental illness. Lora Illig, from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness, provided resources and locaiton to seek help. She talked about her own child who suffered with mental health illness and how this lead her to seek help from NAMI. She now works with NAMI to help other families like her own. 

Sally Sagario, part of NAMI's In Our Own Voice speaker's bureau also spoke to the students, this time from the perspective of her own mental health disorder. She told students how her symptoms began during high school and went unrecognized until she was in college. Though her family was very supportive and understanding, it was the assistance they received through NAMI that helped them through many ups and down. Despite the many challenges she went on to complete her education and leads a full life in recovery. Hearing directly and honestly from two people so closely affected by mental health illness really impacted the students and the message of hope and help hit home. 

This was a pretty heavy topic but the students, who had to be 16 years of age to participate, were very receptive, asked good questions, and received many resources from TriCity Mental Health, NAMI, and Reach Out on where they can find help for a teen contemplating suicide or showing signs of mental health illness. They also received a 3-year training certificate in Mental Health First Aid recognized by the National Council for Mental Health.  For youth 16 years and older who would like to attend the next training, please apply online. IHPC offers this free workshop FREE of charge to participants. Light snacks and beverages served.