Teen Mental Health First Aid

Teen Mental Health First Aid

Senior students learn Mental Health First Aid

On Monday our Year 10 and Year 11 students completed the third and final installment of a Mental Health First Aid course for teens. This follows the Youth Mental Health First Aid course completed by our Pastoral and Student Reception staff earlier this year.

The Teen MHFA course is a peer-to-peer program that teaches students about the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, how to offer initial support to a friend experiencing a mental health problem or crisis and how to connect them with a trusted adult. The course focuses on improving the mental health literacy of a whole student cohort, to reduce the stigmatising behaviours and attitudes that often prevent teens from getting the help and support they need.

Students completing the course learned about the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviours, as well as information about different types of mental health problems and mental health crisis situations in young people. Students were also given a carefully structured Teen MHFA Action Plan that enables them to recognise, offer support and direct a friend in getting the help they need.

The types of mental health problems covered were:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol and other drug use disorders
  • Psychotic disorders

They also covered the following mental health crisis situations:

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  • Non-suicidal self-injury (sometimes called deliberate self-harm)
  • Being very intoxicated from alcohol and other drugs
  • Bullying or abuse

Students were asked to provide feedback at the end of the 3 day course and some of the comments included:

“It is useful because more and more of my friends find themselves in this situation and I am never sure how to react. “

“Awesome course, really recommend it.”

“I really enjoyed learning this information, even if it made me feel uncomfortable, as one day it could help save someone’s life.”

“It is skills everyone should learn. “

This course has been delivered by trained psychologists from Mental Health First Aid, and all who completed the course will receive a Teen Mental Health First Aid Certificate. This certificate is also a useful qualification for anyone seeking leadership or youth advisory positions in the local community or at universities and residential colleges.