Mental illness affects an estimated one in five adolescents, yet less than half of preteens and teens with disorders get treatment. A 2015 national survey of high school students found that 18 percent has seriously considered attempting suicide during the prior year.
“Mental illness is treatable, and adolescents like adults can recover or learn ways to manage their condition and enjoy fulfilling lives, but the first hurdle is recognizing the problem,” said Mary Vineis, NewBridge Services Director of Community Response and Education.
Beginning in July, NewBridge will offer free evidence-based Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions for adults who regularly interact with young people. Thanks to a $12,000 grant from Morris County, NewBridge will provide six eight-hour sessions through the end of the year that teach family members, caregivers, educators, youth leaders and others how to help children ages 12 to 18 who have a mental illness or addiction problem, or who are in crisis.
While it’s normal for adolescents to feel anxious about new experiences, mental disorders can seriously affect how a child feels, thinks and acts, Vineis said. Recognizing the difference between normal growing-up behaviors and mental disorders is crucial. Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14 and 75 percent by age 24. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teens ages 15 to 19.
Youth Mental Health First Aid introduces participants to common mental health challenges experienced by adolescents and reviews teenage development. The course teaches a five-step action plan for helping adolescents in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including ADHD), and eating disorders are among the topics that will be covered.
To find out more for an upcoming session, please contact Vineis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-686-2228.