Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Comes To Santa Barbara

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Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Comes To Santa Barbara
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Local youth encourage community to take Youth Mental Health First Aid.Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Comes To Santa Barbara

Source: Family Service Agency

There’s a groundbreaking movement starting in Santa Barbara. Parents, teachers, and others who work with youth ages 12-18 are encouraged to “be the difference” by learning how to reach out support youth struggling with a mental health or substance abuse problem.

Family Service Agency, Mental Wellness Center, and the Youthwell Coalition have joined forces to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings throughout Santa Barbara County. Just as CPR teaches community members to help when a person is having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training gives people the tools to identify when a young person might be struggling with a mental health or substance use problem. Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

Classes are scheduled for January, February, and March in Santa Barbara including trainings for Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria school district staff. Additional trainings in English and Spanish will occur throughout the year and eventually be added in north and mid-county. (See attached list of upcoming classes and workshops.) To register for a Youth Mental Health First Aid training in Santa Barbara, visit or call (805) 884-8440.   

Classes are provided at no cost to participants due to funding through a three-year federal grant for mental health awareness training to teachers, parents, mental health professional, and community members. The grant also includes funding for crisis intervention training for Santa Barbara County sheriffs and interactive educational forums. The first parent/community workshop, scheduled for January 27, will navigating the digital and gaming age with youth. Learn more at

“Through this program, we hope to take the fear and hesitation out of starting conversations about mental health and substance use problems experienced by our local youth,” says Lisa Brabo, Executive Director for Family Service Agency, which is overseeing the project. “When more people are equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue, more people can get the help they need.”

Twenty-seven percent of teens in our county experience chronic sadness, but many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. Unlike physical conditions, symptoms of mental health and substance use problems can be difficult to detect. For friends and family members, it can be hard to know when and how to step in. As a result, those in need of mental health services often do not get them until it is too late.

In just ten years, Mental Health First Aid has become a full-blown movement in the United States—more than 1 million people are certified Mental Health First Aiders, and that number is growing every day. 

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seahorse Jan 21, 2019 02:30 PM
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Comes To Santa Barbara

This is a great concept, especially if training is focused on early recognition of the symptoms of serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. Sadness, per se, is not an illness and usually resolves with the ‘tincture of time’. Anyone interested in mental health and the most effective allocation of resources should view the Ted Talk by DJ Jaffe on YouTube.

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