L-R is Mason Choice of Newport schools, Steven Peterson of Every Student Initiative, Dawn Sanford and Wendy Flynn of Tiverton schools, and Patricia Chalmers of Newport schools

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Newport, RI – Mental Health First Aid USA trainers from Newport Mental Health and the Newport County YMCA certified educators from Newport and Tiverton schools along with a representative from the Portsmouth student-led mental health advocacy group, Every Student Initiative recently.

“We are so pleased to lead this effort of mental health awareness, which aligns with the missions of both the YMCA and Newport Mental Health,” said Newport County YMCA CEO Mike Miller, referring to the national Mental Health First Aid certification course. In addition, the Newport County YMCA and NMH jointly launched the “#IAMWHOLE” campaign last month. The campaign, which began with the United Kingdom YMCAs, seeks to encourage all people to challenge harmful language and negative stigma surrounding mental health as well as encourage people to seek professional help.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid is an eight-hour national certification course that teaches participants how to respond to youth ages 12-21 years old, who may be struggling with a mental health disorder and how to guide them to appropriate help. Similar to CPR training, the course educates participants about the signs and symptoms of mental health disorders and uses hands-on activities with real-life scenarios to practice responding to a variety of situations.

“Youth Mental Health First Aid is not only practical, it is necessary and vital for anyone who works with children and adolescents,” said CEO Jamie Lehane of NMH. “With over 30 percent of the adolescents diagnosed with anxiety, it’s so important that they receive treatment early in life to avoid more serious setbacks as they get older.”

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The mission of Newport Mental Health is to improve the lives of children, adults and families living and working in Newport County by providing the highest quality, recovery-oriented, evidence-based and integrated mental health and substance use care. NMH serves clients in Jamestown, Newport, Middletown, Portsmouth, Tiverton, and Little Compton.

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