What Parents/Guardians Need to Know About Teen Mental Health First Aid
Ewing High School will conduct teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) training for Grade 11 students beginning this January during your child’s Health class. This is an evidence-based training that teaches teens in grades 10-12, or ages 15-18, raises awareness on the signs of mental health and substance use challenges, while emphasizing the importance of getting help from a responsible and trusted adult.
Mental health challenges are very common in adolescents. As such, young people often turn to each other when stressed or upset and try to help, sometimes taking on too much. tMHFA teaches them they don’t have to take these problems on alone.
The course is being taught by school staff or staff from a partnering organization. All instructors teaching the course have received special training and are certified to teach the course by Mental Health First Aid USA® , a division of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.
The course is taught in six 45-minute sessions. The following is an overview of what will be addressed.
Mental health in general, what mental health challenges are, how common they are in teens.
The impact of mental health challenges on teens, how people with mental health challenges can get better, professionals who can help.
Introducing the tMHFA Action Plan (“Look, Ask, Listen, Help Your Friend”) and how it can be used in a crisis situation. A video shows a teen helping a friend who is experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Helping a friend who is in another type of crisis, such as threatening violence or harm to others, engaging in non-suicidal self-injury, or experiencing a traumatic event such as bullying, abuse or assault. Practice using the tMHFA Action Plan (“Look, Ask, List, Help Your Friend”) in these types of crisis situations.
How to help a friend who may be in crisis. The course does not teach teens how to diagnose! It’s information about being a supportive friend, encouraging friends to seek help, and knowing when it’s time to get someone else involved.
Recovery, resiliency and all final activities to complete the tMHFA course.
Teens who participate in tMHFA will receive a certificate of completion for taking the course and a manual to use during the course that they can take home after the last session. If you want to learn more now, the following resources are provided.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line
Text “MHFA” to 741-741 for free 24/7 crisis counseling.
Learn more about mental health problems
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health
Learn more about Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid USA
You can also encourage your teen to talk to their school mental health professional for additional information and support.
If you have any questions about tMHFA or concerns about your teen’s participation in the training, please contact our school tMHFA Coordinator, Ms. Paige Haugland at email@example.com or Dr. Jennifer Antoni, Director of Counseling and Assessment at firstname.lastname@example.org.