May is Mental Health Month

In recognition of Mental Health Month, the May edition of the Promise Leader Newsletter is proud to feature Promise Leaders bringing Youth Mental Health First Aid training to their communities.

Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) is an in-person training that teaches you how to help young people developing a mental illness or in a crisis. The training covers:

  • Signs of addictions and mental illnesses
  • 5-step action plan to assess a situation and help
  • Impact of mental and substance use disorders
  • Local resources and where to turn for help

To learn more about the YMHFA training and how Sandy Hook Promise can help you bring this training to your community. Please email us at promiseleader@sandyhookpromise or programs@sandyhookpromise.

Cleveland, Ohio

Promise Leaders Rosemary and Rick organized two Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings in Cleveland, Ohio this year. Working with Sandy Hook Promise, they found a location for the training and recruited people from organizations working with youth in the Cleveland area to attend the training. Together, the two YMHFA trainings trained over 50 people from 26 different organizations who collectively serve over 8,000 youth.

"We are pleased to help in furthering the mission of Sandy Hook Promise by assisting in organizing Youth Mental Health First Aid," said Rosemary Creeden of FrontLine Service. "As a large urban mental health center that provides crisis and trauma services to thousands of young people each year, we fully understand the necessity for non-mental health professionals to recognize the complexities of the emotional lives of adolescents. The need for adults to identify and provide assistance to a young person in a mental health crisis is invaluable and may save a life. This increased understanding also helps reduce the stigma around mental health."

Former Cleveland Police Chief and current Chief Executive Director of the ADAMS Board of Cuyahoga County, William H. Denihan added, "I am so pleased that FrontLine Services brought Youth Mental Health First Aid training to the Cleveland area. It is so important that people who interact with adolescents be able to recognize the signs of a mental illness and addiction and be able to offer help to the youth in a crisis or non-crisis situation. I truly believe that recovery is possible and YMHFA can be the first step in engaging an individual in the recovery process."

Worthington, Ohio

Promise Leaders Deanna and Amy wanted to bring YMHFA to their community but weren't directly connected to an organization that could host the training. They decided to work together as individuals to make the planning process easier. "It has been great working with another member of my community," said Deanna.

Together, Deanna and Amy asked their school district to donate space for the training and planned the training for a Saturday in June so educators and others working within the school system could attend. They had to close registration early because the response was so incredible!

"The need for mental health awareness is critical and what better way to build awareness than in my own community. My hope is that Worthington's efforts will have a ripple effect in our surrounding communities so that more adults are tuned into the kids they work with and support. As a band mom of 9 years, I've seen the difference one caring adult can make in the life of a child who is struggling," said Amy.

Deanna added, "As a result of the YMHFA training, I hope our community will understand the aspects of mental health and with that understanding, it will decrease the fear and stigma that creates much isolation."