MHANYS is very excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Schodack Central School District’s Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School as one of only a few organizations across the country identified to participate in the teen Mental Health First Aid Pilot Project through the National Council of Behavioral Health and Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

Schodack Central School District’s Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School in New York State Selected to Participate in teen Mental Health First Aid Pilot Program
The school was one of 35 selected by the National Council for Behavioral Health with support from Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation.

Contact: Glenn Liebman, gliebman@mhanys.org or (518) 434-0439

Albany, New York, (September 9, 2019) – Schodack Central School District in New York was selected as one of the first expanded pilot sites for teen Mental Health First Aid. The program will be hosted at Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School starting in the spring of 2020. The school will train more than sixty 10th grade students. The training is the first of its kind developed for high school students in the U.S.

“This first-of-a-kind program will truly make a difference in our communities, and we are excited that our state was chosen to introduce teen Mental Health First Aid to local communities,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO at the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS). “It is our hope that this training program will encourage students to take action when they spot early signs of a problem and empower them to support a friend who may be in distress or struggling with a mental health or substance use issue, so they can get the help and treatment they need.”

tMHFA is an in-person training designed for high school students to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, particularly how to identify and respond to a developing mental health or substance use problem among their peers. Similar to CPR, students learn a 5-step action plan to help their friends who may be facing a mental health problem or crisis, such as suicide.

The course specifically highlights the important step of involving a responsible and trusted adult. To ensure additional support for students taking the training, Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School will also train approximately 30 school staff in Mental Health First Aid for Adults Working with Young People.

“We’re thrilled Maple Hills High School is one of the first U.S. high schools to participate in teen Mental Health First Aid,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “Teens trust their friends, so they need to be trained to recognize signs of mental health or substance use problems in their peers. The number one thing a teen can do to support a friend dealing with anxiety or depression is to help the friend seek support from a trusted adult.”

“With teen Mental Health First Aid, we like to say, it’s okay to not be okay,” said Lady Gaga, co-founder of Born This Way Foundation, as she spoke with 16 students who completed the first tMHFA pilot in eight schools across the country.

“Together, Born This Way and the National Council have put this program in eight schools. I know for certain that I’m not stopping here,” Lady Gaga continued. “I want the teen Mental Health First Aid program in every school in this country.”

“Through this pilot Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School is taking an important step towards ensuring their students are able to recognize when a friend or peer might be struggling and to feel confident that they know what to do to help,” said Cynthia Germanotta, president and co-founder of Born This Way Foundation. “Knowing how to spot the signs that someone in our lives is experiencing a mental health challenge and understanding how we can support that person is a basic life skill we all need to have – especially teenagers.”

tMHFA is an evidence-based training program from Australia. The National Council adapted the training with support from Born This Way Foundation and Well Being Trust. The pilot program is being evaluated by researchers from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health to assess its effectiveness. The training will be made available to the public following analysis of the pilot study. The training for Maple Hill Jr./Sr. High School is being implemented in partnership with MHANYS.

 

The Mental Health Association in New York State is a not-for-profit organization that works to end the stigma against mental illness and promotes mental health wellness in New York State. MHANYS achieves this through training, education, advocacy and policy, community-based partnership programming, and by connecting individuals and families to help.

About the National Council for Behavioral Health 

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with 3,100 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and nearly 2 million Americans have been trained. To learn more, visit www.TheNationalCouncil.org and www.MentalHealthFirstAid.org.