1,000 People Trained to Assist Youth in San Mateo County

As part of an ongoing partnership with Jefferson Union High School District and Westmoor High School counseling services, the San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Office of Diversity and Equity, was invited back for the second time to train peer mentor students in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Counselors Ki Gaines and Joal Truong-Vargas dedicated two days to training their students in becoming Youth Mental Health First Aiders. The students are Juniors and Seniors, who have shown an interest in helping other students at their school. Through YMHFA, students were able to identify issues that their peers struggle with on a daily basis, such as body image and eating disorders, academic and social pressures and expectations, and the role social media plays in their lives. Students were able to role-play scenarios on how to appropriately approach another student in need and provide a helping hand. Westmoor High School is the first high school in the Jefferson Union High School District to open YMHFA training to their students. JUHSD is also the first district to commit to training all 500 school district staff. To date, over 1,000 people have been trained in YMHFA thanks to Measure A funding.


Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an 8-hour public education training program designed for any adult or student peer working with or assisting young people, ages 12-24. In 2013, San Mateo County Behavioral Health and Recovery Services, Office of Diversity and Equity, partnered with the County Office of Education to begin offering this training to all schools throughout the county. Classroom teachers, school site administrators, school office personnel, coaches, bus drivers, afterschool providers, parents, teacher’s aides, school health aides, yard duty staff, crossing guards, peers and other school personnel are strongly encouraged to become Youth Mental Health First Aiders.

For more information about YMHFA, visit http://smchealth.org/bhrs/ode/CommunityEd#YMHFA
or contact Natalie Andrade at c_nandrade@smcgov.org or 650-372-8548

One comment

  • Congratulations to the YMHFA Team for reaching this milestone!!! There is a strong multiplier effect on having 1000 people trained as they will reach thousands of young people throughout San Mateo County. The importance of identifying as early as possible youth facing mental health challenges cannot be overstated. Thanks to the hard work of this team we are well on our way to having adult and peer allies trained on every middle and high school in San Mateo.