Assistant Principal from Abbott Middle School Praises Youth Mental Health First Aid

Assistant Principal, Elizabeth Gray, from Abbott Middle School experiences a crucial moment with a student, a moment that most school staff are not yet prepared to face unless they’ve taken a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training. When a middle school student expressed thoughts of suicide in her notebook, Elizabeth sprang into action and used the skills learned in YMHFA to ask the difficult yet important question, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” After asking the question twice, Elizabeth was able to get this young person immediate help. Since taking the training, Elizabeth has expressed the importance of YMHFA, saying that teachers are really the first responder’s to a student and can notice slight changes like mood and behaviors in a student.

See what Elizabeth about how the training has helped her:

1 in 5 young people experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime. 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, after school 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 or contact Natalie Andrade at or 650-372-8548