Makin’ It Happen to Launch NH’s First teen Mental Health First Aid Program!!!!!

by | Dec 4, 2020 | Makin ’It Happen Together

Makin’ It Happen is excited to announce that we will be training New Hampshire’s first cohort of teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) trainers!

Executive Director Mary Forsythe-Taber stated “tMHFA is essential to the mission of Makin’ It Happen. We believe that by empowering our youth with the tools to support their peers experiencing mental health crises we will save lives. We are so grateful to our trainers for generously committing their time to be trained”.

Makin’ It Happen plans to train professionals from local schools and youth-serving organizations. The goal of this pilot project will be to have instructors available to teach tMHFA to teens in schools and youth-serving organizations throughout the area!

Next week a team of 16 trainers, including two trainers from our own organization Jane Skantze, Community Impact Manager, and Deb Baird, Resiliency Essentials Coordinator, will begin their training to become tMHFA instructors. We hope to roll these training out in schools in 2021!

The teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) training is designed to teach teenagers the skills they need to recognize and help their friends with mental health and substance use problems and crises and how to get the help of an adult quickly.

The National Council for Behavioral Health created Mental Health First Aid for Adults and Youth in order to teach their ‘First Aiders’ about mental health and substance-use issues. It is similar to taking a First Aid course in which you would learn how to respond to a physical health crisis. Instead, Mental Health First Aid teaches ‘First Aiders’ how to respond to a mental health crisis.

Prior to tMHFA’s creation, all of the training offered in Mental Health First Aid was geared to Adults (Mental Health First Aid) and Adults working with youth (Youth Mental Health First Aid). Having adults trained to intervene in mental health crises is essential but it is not enough.

As adults, we want to help teens around us who may be struggling. We want to come in and support them with all of our solutions. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Having adults intervene in youth mental health crisis is critical but research shows that most teenagers will turn to their friends and peers for support before they turn to an adult. And because of the ongoing stigma around mental health disorders, many won’t even turn to their friends. Among teens with mental health needs, 70 percent do not receive the care they need. That is why Makin’ It Happen has decided to roll out tMHFA!

teen Mental Health First Aid teaches high school students 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 conversations with their friends and get a responsible and trusted adult to take over as necessary. It is designed to be delivered in
schools or community sites in three interactive classroom sessions of 90 minutes each or six sessions of 45 minutes each.

As more individuals are trained in tMHFA Makin’ It Happen will act as a support to help schools and trainers implement this training. We believe this training can save lives, families, and communities. We often have no idea the battles some teens are fighting. We believe that this training is another piece of the puzzle for creating resilient communities.

Please stay tuned to our social media and blog for updates about the progress of this pilot project! If you have questions, reach out to Jane Skantze at jes@mih4u.org or 603-726-6118.