Coalition offering first responder training in ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’

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The Warwick Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse, Inc. is taking the lead in training first responders across city services who work with children in potential mental health crisis situations. Training sessions in Youth Mental Health First Aid will be held for key school, police, fire and city employees who are most likely to be called upon to diffuse a crisis involving children age 12 and up on May 9 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The need for such training was first identified during community discussions that followed the Coalition’s annual Warwick Data in Our Backyard presentation that was held cooperatively with Rhode Island Kids Count last October. That presentation showed a rising trend of mental health issues among the youth and children in the Warwick community and identified this as an issue that first responders and educators will have to address at a growing rate.

Volunteers of Warwick Schools noticed a similar trend among young children during Child Outreach Developmental Screening. In response to this, Claire Flaherty, Director of VOWS and a member of the Warwick Coalition to Prevent Child Abuse, applied to the Warwick Department of Human Services for a mini grant to fund Youth Mental Health First Aid Training. That grant was approved by Patricia St. Amant, Director of Family Support for the department.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based mental health literacy course that introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Scott Mueller, professor of social work at Rhode Island College and Susan A. Orban, LICSW, coordinator of Washington County Coalition for Children, and director of South County Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds will team up to offer the training sessions.

Training session will be held at 535 Centerville Road, Suite 202, Warwick with parking at Faith Baptist Church on Commonwealth Avenue.

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