NC DHHS Press Release: Educators learn to help teens in crisis

Henderson, N.C.

Sarah Mansur
The Daily Dispatch
May 14, 2014

Tandra Henderson was desperate for some type of local training that would educate teachers and school administrators about mental health issues facing adolescents.

When she heard about the Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in Henderson, she made sure to be there.

"We are always looking for mental health resources for our students," said Henderson, the Vance County Schools behavioral support specialist. "A lot of them have mental health issues that are undiagnosed. I work in the Exceptional Children department, specifically, but we also work with children who are not identified as EC because of the symptoms they exhibit. We are always looking for ways to become self-sustaining so we don't have to always rely on outside resources."

About 25 people from Vance and neighboring counties attended the training Wednesday, which was administered through (Cardinal Innovations and) the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services; it was meant to provide adults with skills to help adolescents age 12 to 18 years old experiencing mental health or addiction challenges or those who are in crisis.

The Mental Health First Aid program is a key component of the state's Crisis Solution Initiative, which aims to improve crisis prevention services and reduce emergency department use and wait times for psychiatric and addiction treatment placement.


State health and human services Secretary Aldona Wos attended the training at Perry Memorial Library on Wednesday.

"There is a huge need in North Carolina in reference to behavioral health, and the world of behavioral health intersects with substance abuse in a lot of areas, and that intersects with education, with the social services department, the prisons," Wos said. "If you can, in any way, make an impact on getting people care - especially on the front end - you can change people's lives tremendously. The path they are going on, if you can change their path, the benefit for them in their lives is immeasurable."