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#BeTheDifference This Back-to-School Season

As a trained Mental Health First Aider, you know that mental illness and substance use disorders are prevalent. And that’s true for young people, too: one in five youth aged 13-18 will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. That means that in a classroom of 25 students, five will have a mental illness.

To address mental health and substance use in school settings, our #BeTheDifference focus this month is Back-to-School: Why Mental Health Matters at School.

Here are 5 ways you can #BeTheDifference this back-to-school season:

  1. Join a conversation. On Thursday, July 16 from 2-3 p.m. ET, we’re hosting a #BeTheDifference Twitter chatMental Health in Schools: Your Back-to-School Toolkit. To join the chat, follow @MHFirstAidUSAand use the hashtag #BeTheDifference in your responses.
  2. Share information. We’ve created a series of youth- and school-related infographics to share on social media over the course of the month. Check them out and share them to inform your networks, too!
  3. Keep an eye out. TEASER ALERT: we’re working on a powerful new video on why Youth Mental Health First Aid is so important. Look for more information on that in the coming weeks, and keep your eye out for the hashtag, #SaidNoTeenEver.
  4. Read up. Our #BeTheDifference blog will be filled with stories about youth mental health, like this one: 5 Signs Your Teen May Be Asking for Help. Check the blog frequently for new stories, and remember to share them with your social networks. Do you have a story about providing support to a young person in need? Email for a chance to be featured on the blog this month.
  5. Get trained. If you’re already trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid – awesome! If not, look for a course in your area and equip yourself with the tools necessary to recognize and respond to a young person facing a mental health or substance use challenge.

Mental Health First Aiders like you are making a difference in communities across the country every day. Thank you for continuing to #BeTheDifference in yours.

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