United Way Youth Team Invests In Mental Health First Aid

From left, UWNNM Executive Director Kristy Ortega at Tuesday’s check presentation with Youth Team Leader Emily Hopkins, Stacey Baker of JJAB and CEO David Woodruff of Zia Credit Union who serves at the UW Youth Team Sponsor. Courtesy/UWNNM

The money raised by the United Way Youth Team is now invested in programs focused on youth. The last two years the Youth Team fundraising has been invested in behavioral health, LinkCrew, a peer to peer mentoring program and in 2016, the Youth Team has invested in training High School staff on Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

The eight-hour training takes place outside of school hours. YMHFA is designed to teach adults who regularly interact with youth how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or is in crisis. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Topics covered include:

  • anxiety;
  • depression;
  • substance use in which psychosis may occur;
  • disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD); and
  • eating disorders.

While the program is designed as a training for participants, the nature of the curriculum is such that the entire community of Los Alamos, from its youngest to its oldest, stands to benefit from the greater ability of those trained to identity and act upon signs of a youth in crisis.

To attend upcoming trainings, contact Stacy Baker at JJAB at starrybaker@gmail.com.