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 firstname.lastname@example.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 email@example.com
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
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.
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
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.
Youth Mental Health First Aid is being offered on Wednesday, December 6 and Thursday, December 7 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. Sign up today! Class limit is 30 people.
Learn how to recognize the unique warning signs and risk factors of a mental health challenge and how to offer support that can make a real difference in a young person’s life! Educate and empower yourself to help bridge the gap between an adolescent experiencing a mental health crisis and getting appropriate professional help.
Moonridge 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.
When a young person is in immediate crisis, School Resource Officers (SROs) are often called to assess the young person and determine if the youth needs hospitalization. Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) takes this process a step further by building empathy and understanding through listening non-judgmentally and giving reassurance and information, two steps from the YMHFA Action Plan, to the youth in crisis. Following protocols is essential, yet can be a difficult process for a young person who may be experiencing a mental health emergency. The hope in training School Resource Officers in YMHFA is to minimize the impact hospitalization may cause for a young student by building relationships, connections, and providing support.