Watertown Part of Grant for Youth Mental Health First Aid

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Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Multi Service Center announced that Watertown has been awarded a 3-year Project AWARE-Community grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the training of a diverse group of adults in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

Wayside sent out the following announcement:

This training will help adults detect and respond to mental illness in youth in the towns of Watertown, Belmont, Brookline and the City of Waltham. YMHFA is a public education program that introduces participants to the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention. Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups, and online tools for mental health and addictions treatment and support.

“When a loved one is struggling with mental health disorders and/or the illness of addiction family and friends are concerned and also often confused about how to best support that person. The Mental Health First Aid trainings (YMHFA and MHFA) can help prepare people to intervene with loved ones who have emerging or chronic mental health disorders and diseases of addiction,” according to
Stephanie Sunderland-Ramsey, Program Coordinator at Wayside Multi Service Center. “By implementing this program, we expect to increase the mental health literacy of adults in our community who interact with youth and increase awareness of mental health issues among youth.

“YMHFA skills can be applied anytime, anywhere, and to anyone in distress, be it a Middle School aged youth who is being bullied on line and is displaying signs of depression, a teenager presenting evidence of self-injury or an adult that has been the victim of violence and is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.”

Wayside has a long history of services and programs for youth, and youth interfacing adults in Watertown and surrounding communities. We are confident that this program will help the overall mission of Wayside, Empowering children, young adults and families to achieve greater independence and emotional well-being. We expect that our increased offering of the YMHFA trainings across the four communities will bring Law Enforcement, School Faculty and Staff, Public Health, Medical and mental health providers staff, parents, grandparents clergy and others who interface with youth to utilize a positive approach to interacting with youth and connect them to services and people best suited to assist them with their mental health needs.

The overall goal of Project AWARE Community is to expand our communities’ capacity to increase awareness of mental health issues and connect youth with behavioral health issues to needed services. The program’s objectives include increasing the mental health literacy of adults, increasing the capacity of adults to respond to behavioral health issues impacting youth, and conducting outreach and engagement strategies to increase awareness of and promote positive behavioral health.

For more information on Wayside’s Project AWARE grant, programs, and services, contact Stephanie Sunderland-Ramsey at 617-926-3600 ext. 311 stephanie_sunderland@waysideyouth.org, or www.waysideyouth.org

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