First Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in NJ Funded by AFSP

First Youth Mental Health | Care Plus NJ

FAIR LAWN – On April 30th CarePlus hosted a Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training, funded by the Northern New Jersey Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). CarePlus was the first organization in New Jersey to collaborate with the AFSP to offer the course free of charge to participants.

The objective of YMHFA is to educate, provide resources, and teach an action plan to assist anyone in the community who has connections with the child and adolescent population. Additionally, it instills confidence, not in only in mental health professionals, but also in parents, school personnel, community leaders, and peer mentors alike, to help assist a young person who may be developing a mental health problem or is experiencing a mental health crisis.

“The AFSP recognizes the importance of education and awareness,” said Jamisin Saracino, Director of Advocacy and Community Education at CarePlus. “CarePlus would like to recognize their innovation, and we are excited to collaborate with the AFSP to offer this training to the community at large.”

One goal of the certification is to establish an understanding on how to link a youth to the necessary resources before a situation escalates into a crisis. Many times people want to help, but they do not know what to do. This program provides that insight, and has the potential to help save lives.

“We are working to reduce the suicide rate by 20% by the year 2025,” stated Lorraine Mackin, New Jersey Area Director of the AFSP. “We cannot do this as an organization alone.”

That is why the AFSP has partnered with the National Council for Behavioral Health and pledged to provide an influx Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings in local communities. AFSP chapters are teaming up with organizations across the country, such as CarePlus, to coordinate these efforts and fund the nationally-recognized training.

The award winning 8-hour Youth Mental Health First Aid course was facilitated by certified trainers Jamisin Saracino and Sue Heguy of CarePlus and hosted at the organization’s Fair Lawn location. The event reach enrollment capacity within three hours of opening registration.

“This training goes hand in hand with our mission of understanding and preventing suicide through research, education, and advocacy,” Mackin explained. “After this workshop I hope you are ready to go back into the community, start the dialogue, and spread awareness.”

About The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide. For more information please visit