Youth Mental Health First Aid Program Gains Huge Support from Local Superintendent

Thomas Minshew

Supt. Thomas Minshew

Since October of 2013, San Mateo County Behavior Health and Recovery Services Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) in partnership with San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) has provided free Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) trainings to staff from middle school and high schools throughout the county through Measure A tax funds. Thomas Minshew, Superintendent of the Jefferson Union High School District has become one of the program’s strongest and most proactive supporters. Mr. Minshew has made it a professional development goal of his district to train all 500 JUHSD employees by hosting two trainings a month at the district office in Daly City. Faculty members from Jefferson High School, Oceana High School, Terra Nova High School, Westmoor High School, Thornton High School as well as the Jefferson Adult School will all become certified Youth Mental Health First Aiders. In addition, three JUHSD staff are certified instructors of the course, providing in-house knowledge and experience from an administrative, teacher/GSA adviser and paraprofessional perspective. To date, Mr. Minshew has hosted seven Youth Mental Health trainings, certifying 108 of his employees. The Youth Mental Health First Aid program would like to express deep gratitude for Mr. Minshew’s efforts in supporting students and staff in his district. According to Mr. Minshew, “[Staff] is on the front lines with students who may have mental health issues, and they are the first responders in my eyes.” He also noted that staff has used YMHFA skills and techniques within days of completing the training in the front office, classrooms and with parents of the students they work with.

To learn more about the Youth Mental Health First Aid program, visit:

or contact Lauren Getuiza of ODE: 650-372-8548;