Over 50% of the U.S. population will meet criteria for a mental disorder at some point in their life, many with their first onset during childhood or adolescence. Sadly, many young people with mental problems don't seek professional help. Early detection and treatment of a mental illness can help youth to more quickly recover and ultimately lead more meaningful and productive lives. Our project will train 100 women how to render first aid to a young person who may be developing a mental problem.
1 in 5 children ages 13 -18 have or will have a serious mental illness. The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is 8 -10 years. 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14; 75% by age 24. When mental illnesses start at this stage of life, they can affect the young person's education, ability to work, and form relationships (including marriage), and they can lead to the use of alcohol and drugs.
Early detection and treatment of a mental health problem can prevent loss of productivity, high medical costs, and the associated burdens on family & caregivers. We will train women how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use. They will learn the common signs & symptoms of mental illnesses & substance use in adolescents, how to interact with an adolescent in crisis, and how to connect the adolescent with help. They will learn Mental Health First Aid.
Despite the disabling nature of mental health problems, research and experience has demonstrated that youth with mental illnesses can live full lives and be contributing members of society. This project will enable 100 women to prevent mental health related crisis in young people. These women will understand strategies to intervene early and access appropriate treatment. Mental Health First Aid can have a prevention and treatment value, but its primary impact is early intervention.