How to Support Youth in Crisis

A new school year has begun. The excitement of new teachers, new classmates and new experiences is present for many young people. But for some children and teens – especially those experiencing mental health challenges – the new school year can be daunting,.

As mentors, educators, parents and youth advocates, we have a responsibility to make sure young people have the resources and support they need to be successful in school and in life.

If you encounter a young person in crisis, do you know the steps to take to ensure his or her safety or wellbeing?

Earlier this summer, I became certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. And the training didn’t cost a dime.

What is Youth Mental Health First Aid?

It’s a course designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

Many organizations/institutions across the nation are offering the eight-hour course FREE of charge. Find a course in your community today.

September is Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month. If you know someone at risk, don’t be afraid to intervene. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255 if you or someone you know needs help.

Get (mentally) fit for 2014: Resolve to stress less and enjoy life more

boredomMillions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions centered on health and fitness. Whether it’s smoking cessation, losing weight or getting physically active, wellness often is at the top of the list. But how many will resolve to be mentally fit? According to statistics, not many.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that only 38% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive needed treatment.

Mental health treatment is often underutilized, with patients reluctant to seek services. Barriers range from costs (treatments not covered by insurance) to stigma (fear of discrimination or embarrassment).

But help is available. The following are tips from Empowered Flower Girl to help you get your mind right for 2014:

Join a support group. Many community centers and houses of worship offer free group support for individuals coping with loss or addiction.

Eliminate negativity. Sometimes the best thing we can do for our health is eliminate frenemies. Research has shown that ambivalent friends can adversely impact physical and mental health.

Schedule an appointment with a therapist. If you feel you can no longer handle stress or if you’re concerned that you may be depressed, consider professional help. Psychology Today offers an online survey to help you determine the steps in your path to emotional wellness.