At Makin’ It Happen, (MIH) we are working with our partners in the community to promote Resiliency Essential programs focusing on prevention and mental health wellness. We are starting 2021 with a freshly trained cohort of twenty trained in teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA).  This freshly trained cohort of  individuals represent our three public school districts along with many of our youth serving organizations in the region.. 

The teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) training is designed to teach teenagers the skills they need to recognize and help their friends with mental health and substance -use issues. It is similar to taking a First Aid Course in which you would learn how to respond to a physical health crisis. Instead, Mental Health First Aid teaches “First Aiders” how to respond to a mental health crisis.

Prior to tMHFA’s creation, all of the training offered in Mental Health First Aid was geared to Adults (Mental Health First Aid) and adults working with youth (Youth Mental Health First Aid). Having adults trained to intervene in mental health crises is essential but it is not enough.  Unfortunately, it’s not that easy! Research shows that most teenagers will turn to their friends and peers for support before they turn to an adult. And because of the on-going stigma around mental health disorders, many won’t even turn to their friends.  Among teens with mental health needs, 70 percent do not receive the care they need. 

This program teaches high school students, how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders among their friends and peers. 

Among those trained two were from Makin’ It Happen including Jane Skantze, Community Impact Manager and Deb Baird, Resiliency Essentials Coordinator.  Other instructors come from Bedford and Goffstown High Schools, the Manchester School District and other New Hampshire area Youth Serving Organizations.  All of those trained went through a vigorous three consecutive day Instructor Training course. Additionally, five individuals have been trained in the complementary adult training called Youth Mental Health First Aid.  

Makin’ It Happen has begun the process of creating community by coordinating regular cohort meetings and offering support to our trainers.  We are looking to begin our first tMHFA and YMHFA training in the spring. 

We believe this training can save lives, families and communities. We often have no idea the battles some teens are fighting. We believe this training is another piece of the puzzle for creating resilient communities. For more information about tMHFA, or our Resiliency Essentials initiative please check out our website or connect through email: dab@mih4u.org.  If you or someone you know is looking for resources or support www.communitycompassgmr.org.