Training for youth mental health first aid

With mental health issues in youth increasing, the Mason City Youth Task Force is getting the community involved in training in what to look for and how to seek help

Posted: Sep 26, 2019 9:11 PM
Updated: Sep 27, 2019 5:11 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa - It's an unfortunate reality, mental illness is associated with more than a few stigmas. According to the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, more than half of all mental illnesses start before age 14.

But do you know what signs to look for if you suspect something may be off? If you know someone that needs help, do you know what resources are available?

That's why the Mason City Youth Task Force is working with members in the community, offering training from Mental Health First Aid USA, a guide first created in Australia in 2001, to organizations to form best practices to deal with mental illness.

For Rosita Cansino, who works with kids at YSS Francis Lauer, growing up in a close family meant mental health issues really weren't openly discussed.

"Now that we're learning more about this and we see that mental health illness are becoming more and more with these kids that we work with, it's more eye opening to me."

Nicolas Determann is also with YSS Francis Lauer, and a member of the task force, getting out in the community to offer mental health training. For some, it may take a long time to seek help.

"Because as a society we push people away, this stigma of what it does to people. As a society, we stop people from seeking treatment, it gets worse. It takes 15 years for that individual to actually look and find help because they're afraid of what everybody will tell them. They're afraid of the doors that will shut."

The training covered what signs to look for when it comes to issues such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, psychosis, substance abuse and ADHD.

"It's not one of those taboo issues that nobody will talk about. It's going to be one of those situations where we as a community will look at each other and go, 'we are the solution. We're gonna help everybody.' Because if we don't do that, we lose people."

If your organization is interested in taking part in a training session, contact the Mason City Youth Task Force at 641-421-2708.

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