Intentionally speaking about mental health with your community

Be prepared to openly discuss mental health challenges with community members and help them receive the support that is needed. Take a Mental Health First Aid Course today.

Logo for Mental Health First Aid from the National Council for Mental Wellbeing

How do you approach a child with an injured ankle? How do you approach a child struggling with depression? Do you access an ankle injury the same way as a mental health challenge? When you are asked these questions, are you more comfortable talking about the ankle injury than the mental health challenge? Michigan State University Extension staff offer community adult, youth and teen Mental Health First Aid courses. Taking a Mental Health First Aid course can prepare you to support others during mental health challenges. Acquired mental health first aid skills can assist you in saving a life.

Mental Health First Aid was created in 2001 in Australia by Betty Kitchener, a health education nurse, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor. National Council for Mental Wellbeing has adapted the curricula for use in the United States. ALGEE is the non-linear steps to help others during mental health challenges. This plan will teach you to continuously assess the situation, how to approach, help you listen non-judgmentally, give reassurance and information, encourage appropriate and professional help, encourage self-help and other support strategies.

The MSU Extension Mental Health First Aid website shares all three programs that are available. Adult Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training that teaches people how to identify, understand and respond to signs and symptoms of a mental health or substance use challenge in adults ages 18 and over.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD) and eating disorders.

Teen Mental Health First Aid teaches high school students (grades 10th, 11th and 12th) and youth serving organizations how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders among their friends and peers. The training gives students the skills to have supportive mental health conversations with their friends and then identify a responsible and trusted adult to assist in connecting them to professional help.

The Mental Health First Aid website offers an application for your organization or school to complete to be trained in any of these programs. Once your application is received, we will contact you to schedule a training. Together we can give our community the mental health support that is needed.

Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H have positively impacted individuals and communities can be downloaded from the MSU Extension website.

For more information about 4-H learning opportunities and other 4-H programs, contact your local MSU Extension county office.

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