Youth Mental Health First Aid

Central Colorado AHEC has partnered with Americorps to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA)

Click Here for Our Youth Mental Health First Aid Online Resource Book


The Mental Health First Aid USA Youth Curriculum is a public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly – teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.

Steps to Nominate a Nurse



The course teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, AD/HD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder. Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling – rather, participants learn a core five-step action plan to support an adolescent developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in an emotional crisis:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm

  • Listen nonjudgmentally

  • Give reassurance and information

  • Encourage appropriate professional help

  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Steps to Nominate a Nurse

    The Mental Health First Aid USA Youth curriculum is primarily focused on information participants can use to help adolescents and transition-aged youth, ages 12-25.


    The course is designed for adults whom regularly interact with adolescents, but is being tested for appropriateness within older adolescent groups (16 and older) so as to encourage youth peer to peer interaction. The core Mental Health First Aid course has been successfully offered to a variety of audiences including hospital staff, employers and business leaders, faith communities, law enforcement, and the general public.


    Mental Health First Aid is an international, evidence-based program which begun in Australia in 2001. Mental Health First Aid USA is coordinated by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. Since 2008, more than 45,000 individuals within the US have taken the core Mental Health First Aid USA course, which is intended for all adult audiences. Mental Health First Aid USA worked with experts at the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development to adapt the Australian youth manual for US audiences that work with children and adolescents. The Mental Health First Aid USA youth manual updated the Australian curriculum to ensure all research and epidemiological data is US specific, includes the full range of youth resources for youth in the US, and reflects the appropriate cultural and linguistic competency.

Jacinta Lisauskaite 303.481.8686