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Wood County Educational Service Center Introduces Youth Mental Health First Aid to Wood County

Bowling Green, OH  – The Wood County Educational Service Center is initiating the Youth Mental Health First Aid program throughout Wood County. The next class will be held on May 30 from 8am-4:30pm at the WCESC.

The purpose of the training is to improve mental health literacy by helping adults identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness in youth and young adults ages 12-18.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour training certification course which teaches participants a 5-step action plan to assess a situation, select and implement interventions and secure appropriate care for the individual. The certification program introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.  The CPR-like program aims to improve trainees’ knowledge of mental disorders, reduce stigma and increase the amount of help provided to others.

“Youth Mental Health First Aid will help anyone who works or volunteers with youth, including coaches, scout leaders, bus drivers and others, to identify when a young person is struggling and know what to say to them,” said Angela Patchen, Wood County’s Project AWARE Program Manager. “Youth who are acting out get identified for treatment immediately. We also need to notice the other youth who might be struggling in silence, to reach out to them and let them know that the community cares and is here to help.”

This training is made possible by Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness And Resilience in Education) grant funding received by the Ohio Department of Education from the federal government’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Wood County is one of three Ohio counties selected to promote Youth Mental Health First Aid in local schools and communities. WCESC’s Youth Mental Health First Aid instructors will train 150 people per year for the next 5 years. Participants in classes will include teachers, school staff, first responders, and other members of the community.

The National Council certified 8 Wood County ESC staff to provide the Youth Mental Health First Aid program in January 2015 through a 40-hour instructor certification course in Lebanon, OH. Wood County ESC and all the sites across the nation that replicate this program maintain strict fidelity to the original, proven program.

There is no charge to attend a class, which is limited to 30 participants. Registration is required. For more information or to participate in a Youth Mental Health First Aid training, call Angela Patchen at 419-354-9010.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 2,000+ behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly seven million adults, children and families in communities across the country. The National Council and its members bear testimony to the fact that medical, social, psychological and rehabilitation services offered in community settings help people with mental illnesses and addiction disorders recover and lead productive lives.

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