There has been much written about the COVID-19 effect on mental health. In our youth, it can be especially damaging as their lives have been turned upside down with changes to school, sports, activities, and these may all be complicated from the economic factors related to the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic 1 in 5 teens and young adults were living with a mental health condition (National Alliance for Mental Illness) and a recent study by Stanford University has revealed that school closures, and social distancing from their peers has put them at higher risk of developing anxiety and depression. (Gotlib I, Stanford University, 2020) As the uncertainty of the pandemic continues, it is only logical that many teens will continue to experience issues with depression and anxiety. A May Gallup poll found that 29% of parents of school aged children said their children were “already experiencing harm to their emotional and mental health because of separation from their classmates and teachers” As the pandemic looks to continue into 2021, as adults, we must be able to identify and help youth as they my experience a mental health issue.
Through a grant funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Arizona Youth Partnership is able to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid training to anyone living in Pima County. This 6 hour training, which has gone completely virtual is an excellent way for anyone who works with youth to #bethedifference during COVID-19. Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. Since October 2018, AZYP has trained over 400 individuals to be Mental Health First Aiders.
When you take a Youth Mental Health First Aid course, you will learn how to apply the ALGEE (Approach, Listen, Give reassurance and Information, Encourage professional help, and Encourage self-help and other support strategies) action plan in a variety of situations, including when a youth is experiencing:
- Panic Attacks
- Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
- Acute Psychosis
- Overdose or withdrawal from alcohol or drug use
- Reaction to a traumatic event
To learn more about Youth Mental Health First Aid visit our website here and to sign up for the next free training. Youth Mental Health First Aid is an approved curriculum for the Arizona Department of education required suicide prevention training.