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Your Health
A Noozhawk partnership with Cottage Health

Grant to Fund Mental Health First Aid Instructor

The Fund for Santa Barbara has awarded a grant to train an instructor in Youth Mental Health First Aid, the Mental Wellness Center has announced.

Mental Health First Aid is a one-day course taught by laypeople to others so they will know the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and how to ask for help.

Training provides an evidence-based framework for the instructor to use in giving out succinct and quality information. The philosophy being: the more people know, the more they can help.

This is especially true of mental illness because of associated stigma and lack of essential information, the Mental Wellness Center said.

Mental Health First Aid instructors are leaders who connect, educate and advocate for mental health awareness. They are not professionals in the field. They just care about others’ health, the Mental Wellness Center said.

A five-day training course gives the instructors the knowledge they need to pass on information to others and be the link between a person needing help and that person getting help.

Because teenagers and adults can show different signs, trainers may become certified as adult or youth trainers. The new youth trainer will teach about 12 classes per year.

Mental Health First Aid is an internationally recognized course, originating in Australia in 2000 and since spreading worldwide.

The course harnesses ordinary people’s ability to make a difference for themselves, their families, their neighbors, or even strangers on the street.

There are several forms of Mental Health First Aid, including one that's adapted for the special needs of teenagers.

Helping young people is especially important because this is the age when most mental illnesses first strike, the Mental Wellness Center reports. It is also the age that sets the foundation for adult identities.

Help for young people can make the difference between them staying on track or losing their way, the Mental Wellness Center said.

The Mental Wellness Center offers practical mental health services to residents of Santa Barbara County, often at no charge and accessible to the public in English and Spanish.

To learn more, call 884-8440, visit, or email a request to [email protected]

The Fund for Santa Barbara was established in 1980 as a nonprofit community foundation supporting grassroots organizations working for social, economic, environmental, and political change in Santa Barbara County..

— Barbara Schreibke for Mental Wellness Center.

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