Youth mental health first aid class teaches adults how to talk to teens and recognize trouble

Posted at 8:31 AM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 17:26:29-04

"Last year, I experimented with painkillers. And then I started taking them every day."

"174 days ago I started intentionally vomiting after meals."

These statements made by teenagers on camera are part of a new Public Service Announcement by the National Council of Behavioral Health.

It hopes to start a dialogue about mental health and teenagers because many adults don't know how to talk to a young person who's struggling.

"It can be very, very scary to see a problem and not know what to do about it," explained Marilyn Gyselinck, who's with Next Frontier Parenting.

She's been teaching for over 15 years and has teenagers of her own.

And she's now offering a Youth Mental Health First Aid Class for parents, teachers, coaches or anyone working with teens to understand what warning signs to look for.

"It's designed to bring awareness to the mental health challenges that young people might be dealing with so you can identify them and then actually teaches you what to do about it," she said.

And just like many parents take CPR when their baby is born, this training can be vital in helping you recognize when any child really needs help and could be in crisis.

"And it might not be your kid, it might be their best friend. It might be someone on their sports team, and you're more prepared to recognize and then know what to do," she explained.

Gyselinck also warns using the wrong language with a teenager can be more hurtful than helpful.

And there are other mistakes that adults make too.

"Not talking about it. Very much just kind of pretending everything is okay and ignoring it," Gyselinck said.

This PSA ends with a sign that reads, "When a young person is struggling, it's up to us to notice. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid today."

The Youth Mental Health First Aid class is a nationally accredited certification that has certified over two million people already.

If you're interested, the class is $129.00 and it's offered through zoom and in person.

Just click on this website and put in your zip code to find a course closest to you.