Youth Mental Health First Aid class group photo Nov. 16, 2022. Courtesy/JJAB
Twenty participants—employees of County, School and Library—completed a Youth Mental Health First Aid class Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Youth Mental Health First Aid, a five-hour training (plus 2 hours of pre-work) is designed to teach how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Attending this workshop were employees with the county, schools, and the library.
Kristine Coblentz was the workshop facilitator, JJAB organized the event, UNM-LA hosted the space and the Con Alma Foundation provided grant funding. JJAB has been organizing these workshops for many years, but Coblentz noted that this workshop had some of the best attendance in a while.
“I am really grateful for the excellent turnout and participation we had for this training,” she said, “It was a great opportunity for adults to talk about the challenges youth face and build skills to be able to offer support and connections to resources.”
The training, which lasted five hours and required two hours of pre-work, is a lot like physical health First Aid except instead of focusing on health interventions like CPR, it teaches ways to intervene appropriately when a youth might be going through a mental health crisis. Trainees learn the value of serving as a trusted adult for young people in such times of crisis.
“The percentage of people who are struggling with mental health and substance use challenges has grown significantly over the past few years,” Koblentz explains, “Each of us can ‘Be the Difference’ by noticing when the people around us are in distress and showing that we care.”