Huntedon Central H.S. receives grant for mental health education program

The National Council on Mental Health, in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation, has awarded a grant to Hunterdon Central Regional High School for an innovative mental health education program.

This program will equip 15 to 18-year-olds with the skills to identify, understand and respond to the signs of mental health challenges, substance abuse, and crises experienced by their friends and peers, according to a press release.

“We recognize that a student’s mental health is a critical foundation in supporting success in learning in the classroom as well as in participation in activities and athletics,” said Edward Brandt, Principal of the School. “The more we can equip our students to be proactive in self-care, both mentally and physically, and respond appropriately to the needs of their peers, the more we can support and promote mental health as a school community.”

The grant will provide training for seven employees as teen mental health first aid trainers. An additional ten percent of employees will receive instruction in youth mental health first aid, which is designed primarily for adults who interact regularly with young adults. The course introduces common mental health challenges to young adults, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in crisis and non-crisis situations.

In addition to staff training, all 11th graders in high school will receive instruction in Adolescent Mental Health First Aid, which teaches teens how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance abuse challenges in their friends and peers.

tMHFA is an evidence-based training program brought to the United States by the National Council on Mental Wellbeing in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation. The training teaches adolescents in grades 10-12, or ages 15-18, how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health challenges, substance abuse, and crises among friends and peers. Training gives teens the skills to have supportive conversations with their friends and teaches them how to get help from a responsible, reliable adult.

These mental health trainings are made possible by funding from the New Jersey Epidemic Relief Fund through the New Jersey Community Foundation. Through this initiative, approximately 6,300 young people will receive tMHFA training in the 2021-22 school year. Participating sites will have the opportunity to train additional teens in the 2022-23 school year.

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