Youth Mental Health First Aid Training is a key component of the recently announced Safer Students, Stronger Schools (4S) campaign. After a hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the training has returned for the 2021-22 school year, beginning with Communities In Schools of the Dallas Region staff members. By the end of the fall semester, every CIS Dallas employee will be trained or scheduled to be certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. This will improve the crisis identification and intervention skills of staff members who interact with children on a daily basis, ultimately improving outcomes for students experiencing a mental health crisis.
Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is not only available to CIS Dallas employees, but also to the community at large. The YMHFA training lasts about 7 hours, and is led by the experienced CIS clinical team. At the helm is Greg Southworth, a licensed professional counselor and clinical director at CIS. Greg is passionate about equipping community members who spend time around children with the skills to recognize, deescalate, and monitor mental health crises. The YMHFA training will include learning to recognize the differences between normal development stages, and those which may represent mental health issues in adolescents. Other skills involve using the ALGEE formula on how to assist someone who might be having a mental health crisis.
The ALGEE formula includes:
A– Approach and Assessing for risk of suicide or self-harm
L – Listening non-judgmentally
G – Giving reassurance and information
E – Encouraging appropriate professional help
E – Encouraging self-help and other support strategies.
By learning the ALGEE steps, which can be used in any order, and how to apply them, trainees can provide support to someone having a mental health crisis and seek additional help as required.
Whether you are a teacher, social worker, public servant, religious leader, volunteer, parent, or medical professional, you can benefit from becoming certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Without this type of training, your toolbox for helping students is limited; you may miss important queues, subtle signals, or misinterpret developmental milestones. By becoming certified, you may be able to discern a potential mental health challenge and help to improve the quality of life for students in your life as they navigate the difficulties associated with adolescence.
Training is available to the public free for a limited time as a part of our 4S Campaign. Please visit https://cisdallas.org/mental-health-first-aid/ to request more information.