First Aid Training Addresses Youth Mental Health

This fall, Prairie View A&M University’s Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center hosted a first aid training on youth mental health. Teachers, counselors, and school resource officers from surrounding school districts, as well as officials with the Prairie View Police Department and the City of Prairie View, attended the training on November 2 for free.

“The course, Youth Mental Health First Aid, is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help adolescents, ages 12 through 18, who are experiencing mental health or addiction challenges and crises,” said Director of the Texas Juvenile Crime Prevention Center Dr. Susan Frazier-Kouassi. “Here at PVAMU, nearly one- fourth of our students are still mid-to-late adolescents, so it is important for staff and faculty who work with them on a daily basis to be informed and ready to help if they experience a mental health or substance use crisis.”

Trained Mental Health First Aid provider Brian Gurbach led the eight-hour course. He covered topics including anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders. He also included a five-step action plan on how to help students in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

“This is a much-needed service for adults who work with adolescents,” said Frazier-Kouassi. “With an increased number of school shootings, suicides, and opium use and abuse among our youth, it is imperative that we all become equipped with the necessary tools to intervene and help as first responders. The more we know about mental health and how it manifests itself among young people, the better prepared we are to help them in their times of crisis.”

By Marchita Shilo