Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid

September is national Preparedness Month and your Disaster Resource and Response Team invites you to consider the implications of emergencies and disasters on children, youth, and young adults.  Rev. Rachel Bickford offers a practical resource for little ones during and following a time of evacuation here.  Children, youth, and young adults all process traumatic events differently. 
If you could drink from the fountain of youth, but you had to begin again at age 13, would you do it?  Teenage years can be complicated.  This time of life has always come with hormonal fluctuations and this period often requires the teen to navigate social and emotional changes as well.  The world of today's teen may be vastly different than the world you experienced at the same period of life.  Iphones, Ipads, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, online gaming, and texting all afford the opportunity to experience 'virtual' reality.  This new reality offers real time updates from around the world, but the information isn't always vetted, and Wikipedia is no Encyclopedia Britannica.
What are the implications for our youth?  Relationships are different.  Instead of talking around a dinner table, youth are playing games with others across the street and across the country.  Networks are different.  We can 'like' or 'follow' anyone online... and our lives are no longer private.  Big Brother is watching and inflating or deflating our egos with 'likes'.  A few years ago, Time magazine featured a cover story about teen anxiety and depression with the title, “The Kids Are Not Alright.”
Anxiety, addiction, cutting, and eating disorders are common today among teens and young adults.  Emergency situations or disasters can exacerbate fragility, vulnerability, and risky behavior or risky coping strategies.  Statistics show that it typically takes 8 months for someone who has experienced a disaster to seek help. In those 8 months, a teen or young adult could be struggling.
Your Disaster Resource and Response Team will be offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid workshop and certification on Thursday, November 8th.  This training will give pastors, Christian Educators, youth group advisors, confirmation mentors, and parents the tools to make an effective difference in the event of a crisis, including a crisis precipitated by a traumatic life event or disaster.  Anyone, anywhere can be the one to make difference in the life of someone facing a mental health crisis if they know what to say.
Learn about common mental health challenges for youth and leave with a 5-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.  Registration is limited to 30. Register here:



Estelle Margarones

Estelle Margarones is co-chair of the MACUCC Disaster Resource & Response Team.

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