What does this training offer? The course was a full day (9 AM - 5 PM) and offered training on recognizing and assisting young people experiencing ‘mental health’ problems. This overview teaches the way to know the warning signs of such illnesses as anxiety, depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, and possible signs of suicide intent. This is not a program for treating these issues, but an intense training in recognizing those signs and responding until help arrives.
The Youth Mental Health First Aid USA teaches a five step action plan, “ALGEE”:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
Since I work in a middle/high school library with students who have numerous concerns and issues, this training was extremely beneficial. Moreover, our school is highlighting the need for more education about social/emotional behavior as well as trying to personalize student learning.
One added benefit for librarians (in both school and public libraries) is that we are often ‘singletons’ with limited assistance. Like a CPR course, this training helps you handle situations that can often escalate quickly and need immediate response. For some people, the nurse or crisis responders are not nearby; in public libraries, the librarians might be working on their own. Whatever reason you might have, consider this course. Your students’ lives might depend on you!