When your child or a student scrapes their knee, we all have a good understanding of how to provide first aid. We clean the knee and bandage it up. It is almost an automatic process.
What is not automatic is to know what to do when we can’t see what’s wrong. When our children and students are experiencing mental health challenges, we need to learn to notice the signs so that we can administer the required first aid for their mental health. Some people might be thinking, what does mental health include? According to the World Health Organization, mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”.
Although this can be a scary topic, it is important to be prepared. Check out this short video on Youth Mental Health Crisis.
There are a multitude of mental health challenges that can have an impact on our kids including anxiety, depression, substance use, and trauma. One of our most important jobs is to be able to provide first aid to the students we interact with and lead them to the support channels that they need to move forward towards positive mental health.
There is an excellent course that can train adults that work with children to spot the warning signs that first aid is needed. It is the Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course created by the National Council for Behavioral Health.
The course is a participatory course where you can look at scenarios and discuss strategies in a safe, supportive environment. One of the tools that is used by the YMHFA program is the ALGEE mental health first aid action plan.
Check out this video on the ALGEE action plan.
Assess for Risk of Suicide or Harm
Listen Non Judgmentally
Give Reassurance and Information
Encourage Appropriate Professional Help
Encourage Self Help & Other Support Strategies
The Kane County Regional Office will be running sessions of the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course in 2022; here are the dates and links to register:
Date: 4/7/22 Click here to register
Date: 9/13/22 Click here to register
Below are some local and national resources.
Northern Kane County Crisis Line
Southern Kane County Crisis Line
24/7 Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Crisis Text Line
Free crisis support services at no cost, 24 Hours a day.
To use, text “START” To 741741
Have you taken the YMHFA training or are you interested in learning more? Please tag us @KaneCountyROE if you would like information on our sessions in 2022.
Raven Szalkowski – Professional Learning Coordinator