To assist Arkansas educators in proactively identifying youth in schools who are in crisis or have mental health and/or substance use disorders, the ACSS offers Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA).

This evidence-based training program is designed for adults who regularly interact with youths.

The training introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

A ssess for risk of suicide or harm
L isten nonjudgmentally
G ive reassurance and information
E ncourage appropriate professional help
E ncourage self-help and other support strategies

Upcoming classes in Youth Mental Health First Aid:
January 25 – Arch Ford Education Service Co-op (Plumerville)
March 3 – Dawson Education Service Co-op (Arkadelphia)
April 12 – Wilbur D. Mills Education Service Co-op (Beebe)

This free training is also available to your district upon request. Contact Vicki French at 501-570-8098 or [email protected] for more details.

The Arkansas Center for School Safety is also now offering Basic Mental Health Awareness for Educational Staff Online, a 1-hour online course designed by professionals in the field to help those that work within the educational setting understand the basic concepts around mental health.

This will enable staff to assist in referring a child of concern to mental health professionals in the district. The earlier a condition of any type that interferes with learning is recognized, the less negative the impact on a child’s academic achievement and the more positive their school experience.

This course will cover the six common groups of disorders that affect children and youth as well as some signs and symptoms to look for when working with this age population. In addition, participants will get a better understanding of what educators may see in the classroom as well as strategies to assist when working with students.

Finally, the course will offer some resources to help participants understand what to do to ensure youth get the help that some may need.


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