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#BeTheDifference for Young People with Youth MHFA

We often talk about mental health challenges as if they’re only faced by adults. However, youth and young adults also face mental health challenges, and their experiences will be different than adults’.

According to the Youth Mental Health First Aid curriculum, approximately 20% of children and youth ages 13-18 face a mental health challenge or disorder that significantly impacts their lives. Some are mild and only last for a short period, but others can last a lifetime.

What’s more, the physical, mental, social and emotional changes during adolescent development (age 12-18) can also impact how children and youth feel and communicate. This can make it difficult to tell whether a young person is developing or experiencing a mental health challenge or disorder or simply going through typical changes.

That’s why it’s important that adults who regularly interact with children and youth understand adolescent development and mental health so they’re able to support the young people around them.

Youth Mental Health First Aid has two aims:

  1. Teach adults who regularly interact with youth and young adults how to recognize and respond in a mental health or substance use emergency and how to offer support to a young person who appears to be in emotional distress. These adults can be parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, or other caring citizens.
  2. By using Youth Mental Health First Aid, individuals coming into contact with youth and young adults can acquire the basic knowledge and skills to respond to a young person in distress. They will understand how to use a 5-step Mental Health First Aid Action Plan to help young people in crisis and non-crisis situations.

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches adults how to recognize signs and symptoms of a mental health challenge, listen nonjudgmentally to a young person in distress, and offer the appropriate support.

Sometimes young people don’t realize that they are facing a mental health challenge or feel embarrassed asking for support. That’s why it’s important that you have the right information and tools to #BeTheDifference for the children and youth in your life.

Learn more about Youth MHFA.