(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A Youth Mental Health First Aid aimed to help community leaders better understand the mental health stigma among area adolescents aged 12 to 18-years-old.
"Unfortunately, there's still a stigma with mental health issues and we want to make sure that everyone gets the care and the empathy that they need," Chelsea Howlett, The Noyes Home Executive Director said.
Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, teachers and other caring adults how to help a struggling adolescent that may not even seem like they're struggling on the outside.
Additionally, the program was offered to Noyes Home staff and other area community leaders for the first time.
"We want to make sure that our staff are prepared that when they come here, we're able to give them the best possible care or typical behaviors and that we're able to give additional supports for them," Howlett said.
Moreover, participants learned risk factors associated with youth as well as signs and symptoms of suicide, depression and anxiety.
According to the 2016 Missouri Substance Use and Mental Health Status Report, 16.5% of Buchanan County students seriously considered attempting suicide.
"Take that moment to be the one to make a difference in a child's life whether it's a training or being a trusted adult, having that conversation and digging down and have a conversation with youth and be the one that makes a difference," Cory Eslinger, Prevention specialist said.
Staff say they hope to have more Youth Mental Health First Aid programs in the future to help as many people as they can with mental illness.