HCN News & Notes

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to Be Held in October

WARE, PALMER — Youth Mental Health First Aid Training will be held at Baystate Mary Lane in Ware on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and at Baystate Wing Hospital in Palmer on Friday, Oct. 27. Youth Mental Health First Aid training is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to support adolescents age 12-18 who may be experiencing a mental-health or addictions challenge.

“Youth Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour course that 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,” said Gail Gramarossa, program director for the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance Drug Free Communities Project. “The course topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders.”

Baystate Health’s Eastern Region, which includes Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital, continue to work to support Baystate Health’s community-benefit mission statement “to reduce health disparities, promote community wellness, and improve access to care for vulnerable populations,” said Michelle Holmgren, Public Affairs and Community Relations manager for Baystate’s Eastern Region. “We are committed to working with our community partners, including the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance and the Collaborative for Educational Services, to co-sponsor important trainings. I commend the coalition for highlighting barriers and addressing the essential needs of our youth and for offering training locally to expand important, community-based resources for our youth in the region.”

Anyone 18 or older can take Youth Mental Health First Aid, but it is recommended for those who regularly have contact with young people ages 12-18, including teachers, coaches, social workers, and faith leaders. These workshops are offered free of charge. The program is about eight hours long, and consists of some training and breakout sessions to practice the skills. Lunch is provided.

For more information or to register, visit www.collaborative.org/ymhfa or call Erin Sullivan, event coordinator, at (413) 586-4900, ext. 5981.

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