Tag Archives: Mental Health First Aid

From Parent Project Graduates to Youth Mental Health First Aiders

Parent Project graduates taking Youth Mental Health First Aid

Parent Project graduates taking Youth Mental Health First Aid at Mills High School in April 2018

When parents and caregivers sign up to take the 12 week Parent Project course, they might not know what is in store for them. A sense of community is built in those short weeks and the knowledge gained sparks a deeper interest to continue learning to help others and their children.

By offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid training after Parent Project, parents and caregivers learn why knowing the signs of a mental health challenge or crisis, including suicide, can help their children. For many, their children are first generation U.S. born children, who face the challenges of growing up in a culture different from their parents. For many parents and caregivers attending the training, trying to understand the world their children are growing up in and finding the support from their peers in the room is the most beneficial aspect of their time in the class.

The Parent Project® is a free, 12-week course that is offered in English and Spanish to anyone who cares for a child or adolescent. For more information, please contact Frances Lobos at flobos@smcgov.org.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) course is an 8-hour public education training program designed for any adult working with or assisting young people, ages 12-24. For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid, please contact Natalie Andrade at nandrade@smcgov.org

To learn more about other programs and classes similar to these, visit the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE)’s website here

Written by Natalie Andrade, YMHFA Program Coordinator

FMHI and PII Collaborate to Host 1st Mental Health First Aid for API Community

00001.jpg

On Saturday, April 21st, the Filipino Mental Health Initiative(FMHI) and Pacific Islander Initiative(PII) welcome all to attend this upcoming Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training for the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. 

This training is the standard MHFA training, but also incorporates Asian- Pacific Islander (API) culturally-responsive material: giving participants an opportunity to learn about how to help friends and family members, who may be experiencing a mental health condition or crisis, and get certified.

This event is of huge importance for San Mateo County’s API community for a few reasons. SMC’s API community continues to have a lot of stigma around mental health; there remains a division between SMC’s API community; and there is not much available data and resources around mental health for the community. 

The goals of this event are to:

  • Decrease stigma around mental health in the API community
  • Build solidarity among APIs
  • Bring visibility to API communities to gain more data and resources around mental health Read more

Empowering Communities Far From Home

Written by Natalie Andrade, Mental Health First Aid

23.jpg

Philippine Consulate’s Mental Health First Aid Training on January 27th.

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) was invited to the Philippine Consulate on Saturday, January 27 to provide a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training to consulate staff. The Philippine Consulate provides services to Filipino Nationals in the San Francisco Bay Area. The day was filled with rich conversation about the struggles of feeling homesick and how this can affect one’s mental health, which is a taboo and stigmatized topic in the Filipino community. A participant stated that she was able to feel a connection to the information provided due to the cultural piece both instructors integrated in the course.

The word “homesick” is defined as the experience or longing for one’s home during a period of absence from it. When people leave their home countries, the sense of loss and homesickness is commonly felt. Homesickness is the word used by Philippine Consul General, Hon. Henry S. Bensurto, Jr. in his opening speech during the training to staff to describe the challenges they, as a community, often face when living away from home.

Read more

K-Pop Artist’s Death by Suicide Sparks Conversation About Mental Health

kim-jonghyun-memorial

A portrait of Kim Jong-Hyun on a mourning altar at a hospital in Seoul on December 19, 2017.

Millions of fans mourn the tragic loss of K-Pop star, Kim Jong-Hyun, better known as Jonghyun, who died by suicide on Monday at the age of 27. Jonghyun was best known as the lead singer of K-Pop band, SHINee which rose to fame after the release of its debut EP, Replay, in 2008. As well as being a singer and accomplished dancer, Jonghyun played a large part in the group’s song writing and production.  He had also made headlines for speaking out on issues of the government’s education policy and in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

Jonghyun was considered one of the most talented and well- rounded artists in the K-Pop music industry. According to SM Entertainment, the singer’s management company, “Jonghyun is the best artist who loved music more than anyone else, enjoyed the stage, and loved to communicate with fans through his music. We will always remember you.”

Suicide continues to be a prevalent public health issue primarily due to the constant stigmatization of mental health. A petition on change.org was created in honor of Jonghyun asking for more mental health support for artists in the entertainment industry. The petition explicitly asks for all entertainment industries to make a plan or program to monitor mental health in their employees as well as ensuring that the program would not be used against them and harm their careers. This petition, once reaching its goal of 300,000 signatures is expected to be delivered to Entertainment Industries and the South Korean Government.

Hopefully this petition will increase conversations about mental health and suicide prevention as well as recognition of its importance in saving a life.

Read more

How Knowing the Signs Can Help Save a Life

IMG_1864

Natalie Andrade with ALGEE the MHFA mascot

Before I started working at the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), I did not have a clue as to what the warning signs of suicide, depression, and anxiety were. It wasn’t until I became a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) instructor that I realized the importance of knowing the signs of mental health challenges. During my instructor training, taught by two amazing trainers from the National Council, I felt empowered to go back to my community and teach others important skills one can learn from the training. Knowing the signs of suicide can help save a life, yet the most challenging piece of knowing the signs is having the courage to start the conversation about suicide with someone you are concerned about.

In the YMHFA training, participants practice using a 5-step action plan called ALGEE, which stands for:

 

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Read more

Happy World Mental Health Day!

Untitled

Today, October 10th, is World Mental Health Day, and in commemoration of this year’s theme “Mental Health in the Workplace”, Mental Health First Aid USA provides some thought provoking statistics about how “good health is good for business, and good health includes mental health”.  

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, 1 in 5 American adults have a mental illness and 1 in 10 full time employees have an addiction.  Even more concerning is that 35% of managers feel they receive no formal support or resources to help employees. This highly correlates with work performance as mental health in the workplace is known to impact productivity, engagement, and quality of work. High-performing teams also rely on inclusion, respect, and skillful communication which fall under the umbrella of good mental health.

Read more

The Importance of Providing Youth Mental Health First Aid in Spanish to Half Moon Bay Residents

9-23-17 Group PhotoMoonridge Apartments are a secluded apartment complex surrounded by rolling hills in an unincorporated area of San Mateo County, where its residents are predominantly Latinx and monolingual. Providing YMHFA for this community challenged the stigma often associated with mental health and connected residents to resources and supports provided in their area, including what to do if someone is having a mental health crisis or emergency. Supervising Mental Health Clinician Hector Moncada from Coastside Clinic attended the training to answer any questions and provided information on services offered by the clinic and in the community.

Read more

Why Don’t Teachers Get Training On Mental Health Issues

Earlier this month, I represented ODE at the first annual Pacifica Family Summit at Ingrid B. Lacey Middle School. The day featured workshops led by youth as well as adults on topics such as peer mentoring, meaningful youth engagement, substance use, and digital storytelling. It was a great start of a longer conversation among students, families, teachers, and school staff about mental health.

On one youth-led panel I attended on coping with stress, anxiety and special needs, a member of the school’s staff said that teachers and coaches often serve on the front line of mental health disorders: “Your child might not open up to you, but she’ll open up to me.” Which made me wonder, why don’t teachers receive more training on mental health issues, especially among adolescents?

An article on KQED News asks the same question. Author Katrina Schwartz notes that teachers have a lot of balls to juggle: “content standards, the social and emotional needs of students, behavior, and often trauma.” Citing an article originally published in The Atlantic, Schwartz also notes that more and more schools are using such evidence-based mental health programs as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and Trauma-Sensitive Schools. But without basic mental health training, “it is easy to confuse the symptoms of a mental health disorder with run-of-the-mill misbehavior.”

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) offers a free, interactive course for schools in San Mateo County called Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). This training is geared towards adults who work with youth, including classroom teachers, school site administrators, school office personnel, coaches, bus drivers, afterschool providers, teacher’s aides, school health aides, yard duty staff, crossing guards, parents, faith community members, and the general community. The course empowers adults to identify and respond to a young person (aged 12-24) who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis/challenge or emotional distress. With YMHFA’s 5-step Action Plan, school personnel will be better equipped to identify signs, symptoms, and risk factors for mental health challenges that commonly affect our young people. Mental health literacy creates a safer, supportive, and inclusive school community by reducing stigma and increasing access to and knowledge about appropriate mental health services. YMHFA has made me a better listener and has encouraged me to bring more awareness to the stigma of mental health in our communities.  To date, San Mateo County has trained 1,538 individuals in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

To learn more about the program or to become a YMHFAider, contact Natalie Andrade at nandrade@smcgov.org or 650-372-8548. If you prefer to watch a video about our MHFA program, click here.

Co-authors: Hillary Chu and Natalie Andrade