EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Big Brother Big Sisters (BBBS) of El Paso staff are now certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Officials say the staff is now available to provide training for mentors, parents, guardians, board members, community partners, and others in the El Paso region.

With the help of a grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation,is doing its part to educate our community about the myths and facts surrounding youth mental health and emotional well-being.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso seeks to help the community address these youth mental health concerns, help enhance mental health awareness and reduce stigma and negative bias. 

Youth Mental Health First Aid is a beneficial program for teachers, school staff, coaches, camp counselors, youth group leaders, parents, and adults who work with youth. It is designed to teach caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and how to connect the youth with help.

Research shows that more than 10 percent of youth will be diagnosed with a substance use disorder in their lifetime. 1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition. Fifty percent of all mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 75 percent by the mid-20s.

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