Mental illness and substance use disorders are prevalent. And that’s true for young people, too: one in five youth aged 13-18 will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. That means that in a classroom of 25 students, five will have a mental illness.
To address mental health and substance use in school settings, The National Council’s Mental Health First Aid USA (MHFA) #BeTheDifference focus this month is Back-to-School: Why Mental Health Matters at School.
Here are 5 ways you can #BeTheDifference this back-to-school season:
- Join a conversation. On Thursday, July 16 from 2-3 p.m. ET, MHFA is hosting a #BeTheDifference Twitter chat, Mental Health in Schools: Your Back-to-School Toolkit. To join the chat, follow @MHFirstAidUSA and use the hashtag #BeTheDifference in your responses.
- Share information. MHFA has created a series of youth- and school-related infographics to share on social media over the course of the month. Check them out and share them to inform your networks, too!
- Keep an eye out. MHFA is working on a powerful new video on why Youth Mental Health First Aid is so important. Look for more information on that in the coming weeks, and keep your eye out for the hashtag, #SaidNoTeenEver.
- Read up. MHFA’s #BeTheDifference blog will be filled with stories about youth mental health, like this one: 5 Signs Your Teen May Be Asking for Help. Check the blog frequently for new stories, and remember to share them with your social networks. Do you have a story about providing support to a young person in need? Email EricaH@TheNationalCouncil.org for a chance to be featured on the blog this month.
- Get trained. If you’re already trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid – awesome! If not, look for a course in your area and equip yourself with the tools necessary to recognize and respond to a young person facing a mental health or substance use challenge.
Mental Health First Aiders are making a difference in communities across the country every day.
Read more on MentalHealthFirstAid.org.