The mental well-being of our community’s youth has taken on even more urgency recently, so Kids’ Club was thrilled to give funding support to two initiatives in the Tarrytown School District this month that will help address this critical issue.
The first program, Youth Mental Health First Aid, was offered to 140 TUFSD staff members this week as part of their Professional Development. Participants included teachers, athletic coaches, administrators, clerical staff and more because each of these staff members has opportunities to notice the signs of a youth struggling with a mental health issue and, with the right tools at hand, can respond in ways that positively impact that student.
The course was led by trainers from Westchester Jewish Community Services, and included 2 hours of preliminary on-line instruction before the 4.5 hour in-person workshop. Some takeaways included: 1) the sobering fact that 1 in 5 youth is struggling with a mental health issue, 2) the importance of listening non-judgmentally when someone is speaking about their mental health problem, and 3) that stigma is the greatest barrier for youth to access support for their mental health needs. Post-program interviews with some of the participants revealed gratitude for the instruction and enthusiasm for putting the lessons into practice.
Later this year, 200 SHHS sophomores will participate in Teen Mental Health First Aid, a peer-to peer training program specifically designed for this age group. This evidence-based program teaches young people how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders among their friends. It also empowers them with the skills needed to have supportive conversations with their friends and get a responsible and trusted adult to take over as necessary.
Kids’ Club is gratified that, thanks to the support of our donors, we were able to help bring these vital programs to our community.