Ten schools across the state of Vermont are participating in this year’s Umatter Youth and Young Adult program this school year. The Kick Off Training event was held Nov. 14th, 2019 at Lake Morey Resort and was facilitated by six Rutland High School students and 4 adult supporters covering topics including how to change your mindset, cope with stress, and help a friend who maybe thinking of suicide.
Overall, 95% of the youth who attended the event ranked it as good or excellent and stated that the most useful aspects were learning how to help a friend thinking of suicide. “It is so important to address this issue and give youth the skills and resources they need to help their friends,” says Umatter YYA Trainer, Debby Haskins. “We emphasize in the training that they never want to keep suicide a secret and help teens identify adutls they can go to for help.”
Preliminary data on pre-post evaluation of knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors show a significant change in the following:
Increased understanding of how to use resources to maintain mental health.
Increased awareness of emotions
Increased confidence in knowing the resources available to help friends who are suicidal.
Increased awareness of the warning signs of suicide.
More students had supportive adults they could speak to.
Fewer students felt bad about themselves in the light of others' success.
More students walked away from the event with 3 constructive strategies to deal with stress.
The 10 groups are now meeting regularly in their schools and will be planning Mental Health Wellness Community Action Projects to impact their school community. The groups will come together again at the end of April to share their projects and celebrate their efforts.
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