In April of 2019, I had the opportunity to be trained as a Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor. Mental health has always been something that I have paid attention to and wanted to educate myself more about. As the number of young people that are presenting with depression and anxiety has grown, it has also something that has affected our program and the young people we serve.
The week-long course was full of ups and downs, emotions, hard learning, and practice teaching an 8-hour course.
The concept of the class is simple: if you walk into a grocery store and fall down and physically hurt yourself there are probably lots of people there that have been trained on what to do to help you. They took First Aid. They know how to respond until more help comes. And these aren’t professionals, they are people just like you that have done a little extra training to help their community. Now picture yourself in that same grocery store and you have a panic attack. Fast breathing, vision gets blurry, the world seems like it is closing in on you, maybe you are a bit disoriented. How many people around you know what to do? How many people offer assistance?
Youth MHFA is aimed at adults that work with youth aged 12-18 (so parents, teachers, camp directors and staff, police officers).
It is about:
Empathy and listening
Being an advocate
Finding resources for someone in need
Educating yourself on some common signs and symptoms
Love and kindness
Having conversations with loved ones and strangers about mental health
It is NOT about:
Being an expert or diagnosing illness
Knowing what to do in every situation
Learning every illness and how they all work
Because at Camp Foley one of our main Mission Statements is to Partner with Parents, we want to offer you the chance to attend a YMHFA course that I am teaching on March 20th at the Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka.
If you have an interest, please email me (Alli) and I will pass along the details of the course. The course costs $45 but to show our dedication to this important topic we are splitting the cost with our camp parents, offering it to you for $25.
If you can’t make that date, let me know….there are other classes around the country that you can take.
Looking forward to continuing my education and hope you will, too.
Alli Faricy, Director