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    Talking to Youth About Their Mental Health

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month #BeTheDifference by Taking a Youth Mental Health First Aid Class

    Conversations around mental health issues can be challenging and complicated. Using the tools of Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), adults can help take the fear and hesitation out of starting a difficult conversation that may end up saving someone’s life. A new slate of YMHFA classes have been scheduled starting this May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month.

    The free training teaches adults how to spot warning signs of mental health risks and substance abuse in youth, and how to prevent a tragedy. Join the more than 1,600 Santa Barbara County parents, mental health providers, educators, and counselors have already been trained.

    • Learn compassion and nonjudgmental caring, while gaining practical tools to help.
    • Help change hearts and minds about mental illnesses and addictions by increasing awareness that mental health is essential for health.
    • Create a sense of community by restoring the connections that bind us – connections that when frayed lead to loneliness, social isolation and physical and mental health problems.

    “Adults need to know that they have an important role to play in helping a young person struggling with a mental health concern or substance use,” said Michèle Pouget-Drum, YMHFA Instructor and member of the Board of Directors for the Mental Wellness Center (MWC).

    Just as CPR helps even those without clinical training assist an individual having a heart attack, YMHFA teach participants the skills to interact with a youth experiencing a mental health crisis. Mental Health First Aiders learn a five-step action plan that guides them through the process of reaching out and helping the youth connect to appropriate support.

    YMHFA is a collaborative effort of Family Service Agency, Mental Wellness Center, and Youthwell. The curriculum is provided by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing. It is offered free to Santa Barbara County residents thanks to a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. To register, visit BetheDifferenceSB.org or call (805) 884-8440. 

    If you or someone you know is in crisis or having suicidal thoughts, contact someone immediately!

    • If you feel unable to keep yourself safe, call 911.

    • Contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Dial or text 988, call 800-273-8255 (TALK) or visit 988Lifeline.org


    The National Council for Mental Wellbeing was instrumental in bringing Mental Health First Aid to the United States. To learn more about the nationwide effort, visit MHFA.org.

    The mission of Family Service Agency (FSA) is to strengthen and advocate for families and individuals of all ages and diversities, helping to create and preserve a healthy community. FSA is regarded as one of Santa Barbara County’s most reliable and effective nonprofit human service organizations. Established in 1899, FSA improves the health and well-being of our community’s most vulnerable children, families and seniors by ensuring access to food, shelter and other basic needs, as well as providing youth mentoring, case management, substance abuse treatment, advocacy, and a wide-array of mental health programs. For more information, visit www.fsacares.org.

    The Mental Wellness Center (MWC) is the non-profit organization that recognizes mental illness is a community matter affecting us all. Providing education and support, MWC is dedicated to meeting the immediate and future needs of our YouthAdultsFamilies, and the greater Community. Visit mentalwellnesscenter.org for more information.

    YouthWell focuses on education, prevention, support, and early intervention, connecting youth through age 25 and their families to mental health and wellness resources before the crisis. YouthWell mobilizes community stakeholders in order to improve outcomes, affect systemic change, and build common understanding. YouthWell provides an online Community Calendar and a Mental Health Resource Directory for Santa Barbara County. Visit youthwell.org for more information.

    Press Release
    Press Release
    This is a press release sent to Goleta Voice for publication. Refer to the references in the article for more information.
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