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Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings Available Nationwide

The Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Funder Collaborative, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and Jewish Federations of North America are partnering to respond to increasing and alarming rates of stress, anxiety and depression in teens and young adults. 

Jewish professionals, caregivers and parents who interact with and care about young people in the Jewish community can participate in training as Youth Mental Health First Aiders, a virtual certification course administered by the National Council of Behavioral Health. The course, which is limited to 1,000 people, is offered at no cost thanks to the support of the Aviv Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Jim Joseph Foundation through the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) and Crown Family Philanthropies.

Those trained will develop skills to encourage self-help, contribute to reducing stigma, and obtain the language and skills to distinguish typical behavior from areas of concern in need of expert help. Jewish context and teachings will be blended with this new skillset to be highly relevant to the Jewish community. Youth professionals also will be trained to recognize, over virtual platforms, if teens are struggling, and how to access local clinical help if needed.

These expanded trainings build on the Funder Collaborative’s focus on adolescent mental health and wellness since its formation in 2013. Through the Collaborative’s efforts, nearly 400 youth professionals have been certified in YMHFA. The Collaborative’s investment also includes a national Community of Practice of more than 50 YMHFA instructors across the Jewish community and the creation of complementary Jewish educational resources.

Youth Mental Health First Aid introduces emotional health challenges and teaches how to distinguish between typical adolescent development and symptoms of a mental health or substance use issues. It focuses on signs and symptoms of issues most common to this age group, such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders, and the impact of social media and bullying. It reviews proactive ways to encourage self-care activities, as youth often are unable to communicate changes in feeling or explain what they need. Anyone who interacts with youth, adolescents and young adults (ages 12-21) would benefit, particularly youth group leaders, camp counselors and staff, peer engagers, teachers, school administrators and parents. 

The virtual certification takes no longer than six hours. Virtual First Aiders will receive a certification valid for three years upon completion.

For more information, contact Wellness Director Margie Bogdanow at margie@teenfundercollaborative.com. Limited spots available.

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