Adam and I recently attended a workshop called Youth Mental Health First Aid. It was sponsored by our high school, and put out there for our educators, and also for our parents. The class filled up within a few hours and there is an extensive waiting list, so they may schedule another one. Out of the thirty people who attended, only two were teachers from our school district. The rest were parents, all of whom have a child struggling in some way.
I find this to be very telling of what is happening in our society, to our kids. The vision of this program is to create "an empowered community providing support to one another in times of mental health problems and mental health crises."
We are only halfway through the class, but so far it was very informative. Scary, but informative. Because the statistics that are provided, such as the percentage of youth age 13 to 19 with mental or addictive disorders in a given year, are somewhat alarming:
- - Anxiety disorders 31.9%
- - Behavior disorders 19.1%
- - Mood disorders 14.3%
- - Substance disorders 11.4%
So the overall prevalence of kids struggling adds up to 22.2%. That's around one out of every four children. Picture all the kids who you know. And these statistics are assumed to be lower than the actual numbers, because there are so many who do not seek out help due to lack of knowledge, resources, or because of the stigma associated with this topic.
That is exactly why this course is taught. The training has been found to "improve knowledge, reduce stigmatizing attitudes, and increase first aid actions towards people with mental health problems and challenges."
The way I see it, the more that people are made aware, the more our society as a whole, will benefit. Because statistically, every one of us will have contact with someone who is struggling. And these are the kids who, one day, will be taking care of Us.
BTW, we have 28.2 inches of snow here in Malvern, PA. Happy winter!