Experts provide youth mental health education and training in Salina

When young people are going through a mental health crisis, adult caregivers do not always recognize it or its signs right away. People in and around Salina can sign up for local training aimed at combating this problem.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training is designed to teach parents, family members, teachers, coaches, school staff, social workers and anyone else who works with youth how to recognize signs of mental health distress.

The class, scheduled for October 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be held at the Central Kansas Mental Health Center at 809 Elmhurst Boulevard in Salina.

Gretchen Boyum, a fellowships and written communications specialist at CKMHC, said the low initial enrollment numbers had led them to postpone training until October.

“We’re hoping to generate a little more interest now before October 14,” Boyum said.

recognize signs

The course introduces common mental health challenges faced by adolescents, addresses typical adolescent development and teaches an action plan on how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Anyone who takes part in the course and passes the exam at the end becomes a certified “first responder” for mental health.

“You’re going to start learning, you know, ‘what are the most common mental health problems, what are common mental illnesses … which someone we don’t know about might be dealing with,'” Boyum said.

According to Boyum, the CKMHC offers regular training with a handful of staff who are certified mental health first-aid trainers.

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Mental health coaches go through common signs of depression and anxiety and other conditions that commonly affect young people in their daily lives.

They also discuss some more “intense” conditions like schizophrenia and phobias.

Once participants know what the most common problems look like, they are taught signs and symptoms – from minor to major behavior changes.

be there for others

Through this experience, people can be empowered to support the mental health of others within the community, Boyum said.

“Like someone you know who’s usually on time and then just shows up late for everything,” Boyum said. “It might be a small change in behavior, but it might just be a sign that something is wrong.”

Boyum often said these first aid training courses can give individuals the confidence they need to turn to someone who may be struggling.

“When you see that there’s something wrong with someone, it helps to just have the confidence to reach out and say, ‘Hey, I noticed that and I wanted to see if you’re okay,'” Boyum said .

How to register

There’s about 15-20 minutes of work that people need to do before practice on October 14, but Boyum said CKMHC will work to support people with that.

Mental health training like this is supported by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, which is offering additional online training if people want to learn more after the first on-site class on October 14.

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The CKMHC accepts registrations up until the day of the training. To register, please contact Boyum at [email protected] or call 785-515-6139. There is a $5 registration fee.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Community Grant Fund and the Kansas Health Foundation Fund of the Greater Salina Community Foundation.

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