KOSCIUSKO — Kosciusko Cares Youth Services is offering a youth mental health first aid class to adults in the community.
“This is a class that will teach adults how to recognize signs of an emerging mental health problem in youth and how to get them professional help,” said Marsha Carey, director of Kosciusko Cares.
This program does not focus on diagnosing youth; rather, participants learn how to support a youth that is developing signs of a mental illness through a five-step action plan.
The action plan includes assessing youth for suicidal risk, listening in a non-judgmental manner, giving reassurance, encouraging appropriate and professional help and encouraging self-help.
“The program is very similar to a CPR class,” said Carey. “It’s important to have these skills to help youth who are struggling with mental health issues.”
The class itself is 8 hours long, allowing attendees to receive a certification in youth mental health first aid. Class sessions consist of group activities and also include videos by Kevin Hines, an individual who jumped off the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge to commit suicide and survived.
Carey stated that the class can be taken by any adult and is strongly encouraged for those who interact with children on a daily basis, especially teachers, school staff, youth group leaders, and parents.
“Youth may be unsure if their feelings or symptoms are typical or not and may fear drawing attention to themselves or getting into trouble,” said Carey.
Class sizes can range from 8 to 25 individuals. Kosciusko Cares Youth Services is scheduling classes now for August through October of this year.
Those interested in taking a class can sign up by going to kosciuskocares.org. You can also call (574) 372-3528 or e-mail [email protected] to sign up for a class session.
“This is information that is beneficial for anyone to know,” said Carey. “This topic is a passion of mine. As a society, we’re very accepting of people who are suffering physically. But if somebody is diagnosed with a mental health issue, you’re likely to avoid them. I really want to change that, particularly around youth.”