​Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services inc.

Mental Health First Aid

Non-profit counseling and social services agency, providing a diverse offering of programs 

Anyone, anywhere can be the one to make a difference in the life of someone with a mental health or substance use challenge – if they know what to do and what to say. Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. SYFS has been provides Mental Health First Aid training across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for schools, faith-based organizations, businesses and corporations, police departments, parent groups, and many others. Everyone and anyone can benefit from training in one or more of the multiple designations.

Topics Covered

  • Depression and mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma
  • Psychosis
  • Substance Use disorders
  •  

Interventions Learned

When you take a course, you learn how to apply the Mental Health First Aid action plan in a variety of situations, including when someone is experiencing:

    • Panic attacks
    • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
    • Nonsuicidal self-injury
    • Acute psychosis (e.g., hallucinations or delusions)
    • Overdose or withdrawal from alcohol or drug use
    • Reaction to a traumatic event

The opportunity to practice — through role plays, scenarios, and activities — makes it easier to apply these skills in a real-life situation. Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.

The adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone 18 years and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions. 

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 an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. 

Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. This 8-hour training — which focuses on the unique experiences and needs of adults over the age of 65 — gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. 

WHO SHOULD TAKE IT
• Families
• Caretakers
• Employers
• Nursing staff 

WHAT IT COVERS
• A discussion of life changes that occur in older adults.
• A discussion of the specific risk factors faced by older adults, such as chronic health conditions.
• How to discern the difference between talking about death and suicidal ideation. A breakdown of psychosis, dementia and delirium.
• How to communicate effectively with those who need help while using respectful language.
• How to combat the stigma around substance-related problems in the older adult population.

The course is taught to police, first responders, corrections officers and other public safety audiences around the country. Mental Health First Aid for Public Safety provides officers with more response options to help them de-escalate incidents and better understand mental illnesses so they can respond to mental health related calls appropriately without compromising safety

Trainings are free and open to the public. Full 8 hour attendance required for 3 -year certification.  A 6 hour curriculum is available for school districts to be completed in one full professional development day. Contact us to schedule a training for your organization.

To arrange a training for your town or organization, please contact:
Christine Mowry, Executive Director
508-845-6932 extension 301
cmowry@syfs-ma.org