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Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings Available Nationwide 

Through a partnership between the Jewish Teen Education & Engagement Funder Collaborative, Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies and Jewish Federations of North America, nearly 1,000 Jewish professionals, caregivers and parents who interact with young people in the Jewish community can participate in training as Youth Mental Health First Aiders, a virtual certification course administered by the National Council of Behavioral Health. The course for a limited number of people is offered at no cost thanks to the support of the Aviv Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, the Jim Joseph Foundation through the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF) and Crown Family Philanthropies.

Those trained will develop skills to encourageself-help, contribute to reducing stigma, and obtain the language and skills to distinguish typical behavior from areas of concern in need of expert help. Jewish context and teachings will be blended with this new skillset to be highly relevant to the Jewish community. 

These trainings build on the Funder Collaborative’s focus on adolescent mental health and wellness since its formation in 2013. Through the Collaborative’s efforts, nearly 400 youth professionals have been certified in YMHFA and a national Community of Practice of more than 50 YMHFA instructors across the Jewish community and the creation of complementary Jewish educational resources.

“Adolescence is a time of change and self-discovery, which can lead to stress and anxiety. In light of recent events, young people need us more than ever — and, thankfully, virtual programming enables us to expand easily nationwide,” said Sara Allen, executive director of the Funder Collaborative. “Youth Mental Health First Aid is a powerful tool and we want to make this training as common as CPR.”

COVID-19 and subsequent upheaval, have dramatically impacted youth and young adults. Studies show that their emotional and mental health are suffering without in-person school, extracurricular activities, and in-person interactions with classmates and friends. One-third of Americans are experiencing clinical levels of anxiety, depression or both; crisis text lines have shown a collective 40% increase in volume.

Anyone who interacts with youth, adolescents and young adults (ages 12-21) would benefit, particularly youth group leaders, camp counselors and staff, peer engagers, teachers, school administrators and parents.

The virtual certification takes no longer than six hours and is a combination of self-paced learning and instructor-led, cohort-based workshops. Virtual First Aiders will receive a certification valid for three years upon completion. The YMHFA trainings are part of the Funder Collaborative’s larger efforts to support mental health and wellness. 

To bring YMHFA to your organization, network or community, or to get certified yourself, fill out the form at: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd_
bayo3VfDOs00U7bO0Y8xROh
4SSWwdctuePI_XF0rOMmKAQ/viewform so we may follow up directly. For additional questions or information about the trainings, email Wellness Director Margie Bogdanow at margie@teenfundercollaborative.com. Limited spots are available.

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