CYFD Recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month

CYFD & Partners To Hold Mental Health First Aid Training Across NM

05.07.2015

SANTA FE – In recognizing May as Mental Health Awareness Month, the Children, Youth and Families Department (CYFD) and its partners are holding mental health first aid training throughout the state.   

“Learning how to recognize and address potential mental health risks and warning signs is very important in helping New Mexico’s families and improving the quality of life for our children,” said CYFD Secretary Monique Jacobson. “Throughout the year, our department and our partners provide training sessions all across the state to not only raise awareness of mental health, but to help New Mexicans recognize risk factors and respond as well.”

CYFD currently partners with statewide behavioral health providers, Nations, Tribes and Pueblos, schools, county detention facilities, hospitals, cities and counties to provide instruction in mental health first aid.

Mental health first aid is training designed to improve recognition of risk factors and warning signs of, as well as response to, a range of mental health issues. These include depression, anxiety, eating and substance abuse disorders, self-injury, and others. New Mexico currently has 113 mental health first aid instructors, 49 of whom train individuals on the youth mental health curriculum. The youth curriculum focuses on understanding the difference between typical adolescent development and the onset of a mental illness. 

“Knowing the signs of the onset of a mental illness and how to respond can greatly impact the outcomes for young people and their families,” said CYFD Children’s Behavioral Health Division Director Daphne Rood-Hopkins. “The youth curriculum is very important because it helps those who are trained in mental health first aid to understand the difference between mental illness and the typical development of a child.”

The youth curriculum is intended for adults who work with youth ages 12-18. Since 50 percent of the signs and symptoms of a mental illness are present by the age of 14, and 75 percent by the age of 24, this training can have a huge impact on connecting young people and their families to the resources and supports they need. 

For a list of mental health training and community mental health awareness events happening across New Mexico during the month of May, please visit www.CYFD.org/mental-health-month.  For more information on mental health first aid and how someone can be certified as well as other Mental Health First Aid trainings being held throughout 2015, please visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org.