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DHHS Highlights Youth Mental Health First Aid as part of Mental Health Awareness Month

 

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Contact: news@dhhs.nc.gov
              919-855-4840

image of DHHS Secretaty Wos with Youth Mental Health First Aid class
Secretary Wos meets with the Youth Mental Health First Aid class and partners from Cardinal Innovations.

Henderson, N.C. - As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and Deputy Secretary David Richard today recognized the newest group of Youth Mental Health First Aid trainees. During a two-day training session, the 21 participants learn to recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions in young people.

According to recent surveys conducted in North Carolina, more than 14% of high school students and 20% of middle school students have considered suicide.

"Adults in our communities often do not know how to intervene when it comes to mental health and substance abuse issues," said Secretary Wos. "In keeping students safe, our first principle must be to encourage more adults to be involved - at schools, at home, and in our communities. Our participants today have taken the first step by becoming certified Youth Mental Health First Aiders."

Mental Health First Aid is a key component of DHHS' Crisis Solution Iniative, which aims to improve crisis prevention services and reduce emergency department use and wait times for inpatient psychiatric and addiction placement.

As of September 2013, North Carolina had more than 2,000 people trained as Mental Health First Aiders, through the efforts of about 50 certified instructors.

For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid, click here.

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