Samaritans offers free Youth Mental Health training

In recognition of Mental Health Month, Samaritans has announced free Youth Mental Health training to be held in Maitland and Dungog across October in partnership with Hunter New England Local Health District.

Samaritans Youth Development Officer for Maitland and Dungog, Rhys Callaghan, knows just how hard it can be for a young person with a mental health problem to access support.

“Quite often the first major barrier is finding a trusted adult to safely talk about their worries and problems with. The first step toward seeking mental health support is very rarely in talking to a professional. Samaritans believes that we all have the ability to help a young person who is struggling with their mental health,” Rhys said.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid course teaches adults how to assist young people who are developing a mental health problem or who are in a mental health crisis.

“Research suggests that parents, coaches and other trusted adults are usually the first people a young person will feel comfortable enough to share their anxieties or mental health concerns with, but we know from experience that some people feel ill-equipped to know what to say, how to respond or where to direct young people to when they need more help,” Rhys said.

“Having the tools to initially assist a young person into getting appropriate professional help is exactly what we want to see in the community and it is hoped that offering this course will improve mental health outcomes for young people through enhanced awareness and education,” Rhys said.

During the one-day course, participants will learn to identify the signs and symptoms of developing mental health problems in young people, how to provide Mental Health First Aid in a crisis and where and how to get help when a young person is developing a mental illness.

“We want to see young people being mentally well, fulfilling their dreams and not letting mental illness get the better of them. Through community education and an increase in community mental health literacy, we aim to assist in reducing the youth suicide rate and increase help seeking behaviour in the Maitland and Dungog areas”.

Usually costing participants over $300 to complete the training, the course has been made possible thanks to generous support from Club Maitland City, East Maitland Bowling Club and the Maitland Regional Suicide Prevention Network.

“We have already been inundated with interest in the course, especially in Maitland. Participants can register by searching for the Youth Mental Health First Aid Course in Maitland or Dungog on the Eventbrite website or by calling headspace Maitland for more information,” Rhys said.