ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has awarded $1 million to the Mental Health Association (MHANYS) to facilitate ‘Youth Mental Health First Aid’ training. OMH’s grant will help provide training to adults who regularly interact with young people, including healthcare providers, teachers, clergy, parents, first responders, and other groups.

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among children and adolescents. MHANYS anticipates facilitating 40 in-person training sessions and 120 virtual sessions which will provide training to up to 3,600 participants. 

Additionally, MHANYS will provide instruction to individuals who wish to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid training themselves. This “train the trainer” model will further expand access to training in communities across New York State they said.

Officials said studies have shown that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence to provide help to others, a greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, and improved concordance with health professionals about treatments. MHANYS plans to host two “train the trainer” sessions, to prepare up to 32 people to become Youth Mental Health First Aid trainers.

Funding for the award was provided to OMH through the expansion of the federal Community Mental Health Services Block Grant. It is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.