Free youth mental health first aid training offered March 21

By Oliver Lazenby

Many consider CPR certification to be part of being a responsible citizen, but what about mental health first aid training?

The Whatcom County Health Department and Blaine School District are partnering to host a Youth Mental Health First Aid course on Thursday, March 21. The course is free and goes from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Blaine School District office.

The training is designed to teach adults who regularly interact with young people how to help adolescents who are experiencing a mental health crisis or addiction challenge.

The course covers common youth mental health challenges, reviews typical adolescent development and teaches a five-step plan for helping young people in challenging mental health situations.

“The idea is that community members who care for youth can be equipped to identify problems,” said Kaatri Jones, a mental health counselor at Blaine schools. Jones attended a youth mental health training last year and called it engaging and approachable.

“One of the key parts of training is just that relationships matter so much. If we can all look out for our youth, we’ll have a healthy community,” she said.

The course uses a national curriculum managed by the National Council for Behavioral Health. Similar courses are offered regularly throughout northwest Washington. To find one, visit mentalhealthfirstaid.org/take-a-course/find-a-course/.

This is the second year the training is offered in Blaine. It will likely be offered again, but not until next year, making this a rare opportunity to take the course locally.

“I would love to fill the room with people from our community,” Jones said.

Up to 30 people can register for the course. Register online by March 18 at bit.ly/2C9p4P0.

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