Kelly Sherman-Conroy – CYF Social Justice and Advocacy
At the beginning of November, I attended an eight-hour, evidence-based public education program designed to equip those who work with youth ages 12-18 years, with the knowledge we need to know how best to respond in a mental health emergency and how to offer support for someone who is in emotional distress.
When someone is choking on a piece of food and can’t breathe, most of us would know to perform the Heimlich maneuver. And if we came across the victim of a gunshot wound, we’d instinctively try to stop the bleeding with a tourniquet. However, what if we came across a youth suffering from a panic attack, or who was beginning to hear voices, or who was depressed and contemplating suicide? Most people don’t know what to do in these situations. It’s just as important to know how to help in a mental health crisis as it is in a physical health crisis.
This is where Youth Mental Health First Aid training comes in. We learned risk factors and warning signs of mental and how to recognize them. Information on mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, trauma, psychosis, and substance use disorders. An action plan for helping someone who is developing a mental health problem or is in crisis and how to reach mental health professionals.
This was a useful training which I was able to gain knowledge of signs, symptoms, and risk factors of mental illnesses and substance use problems and foster increased mental wellness. If you have the opportunity to attend a class, please do!