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National Council for Behavioral Health Partners with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to Offer Youth Mental Health First Aid

The National Council for Behavioral Health is proud to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to train local club staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid. The eight-hour course teaches parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent between the ages of 12 and 18 who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

Data shows that young people are especially vulnerable, with increased rates of depression, self-harm and suicide. If Boys & Girls Clubs staff are empowered to understand, identify and respond to youth who may be facing these challenges and connect them to care if necessary, the entire community will be stronger.

Boys & Girls Clubs understand that for young people to succeed in life, they must have a solid foundation of social and emotional skills. “We know that one caring adult can make all the difference in the life of a young person, and this is especially true when it comes to mental health or substance use challenges. It’s critical that we offer the skills and resources through our trained youth development professionals to respond and positively impact youth in crisis,” said Jim Clark, president and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

As a result of the partnership, local Boys & Girls Club leadership from across the United States will have the opportunity to attend Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings as part of their regional conferences. In addition, Boys & Girls Clubs of America is hosting a series of Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings in Native American and tribal communities across the country and will encourage teen and youth leaders to take advantage of these trainings.

Since the National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid to the United States in 2008, more than 1 million Americans from all walks of life have been trained – from teachers, police officers and first responders to veterans, politicians and national sports figures. The partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America extends the reach of this potentially lifesaving program.

“Boys & Girls Clubs are safe spaces for young people to learn, play, grow and get away from any negative or challenging circumstances they might be experiencing at home or in their community,” said Betsy Schwartz, vice president of public education and strategic initiatives at the National Council. “This makes Youth Mental Health First Aid an obvious partner for Boys & Girls Clubs across America.”

Watch our newest video, “Said No Teen Ever,” to learn more about why Mental Health First Aid is so important for adults who work with youth.