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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

July 14, 2023

NYS Office of Mental Health and Mental Health Association In New York State Partner to Launch Free Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Trainings designed to teach adults how to help young people in crisis -- Additional funding will provide training for teens to support their friends and learn how to cope with crises

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and the Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS) have partnered to provide free Youth Mental Health First Aid training to adults who regularly interact with young people, including parents, caregivers, healthcare providers, teachers and others. The trainings help adults recognize and assist young people ages 12 to 18 who are experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “The trainings offered by MHANYS will help adults who work with or interact with young people to recognize warning signs of potential behavioral health issues, which will help children and youth get the support and services they need earlier, leading to better health outcomes. MHANYS has been a great partner to OMH in our shared mission to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the services they may need.”

Glenn Liebman, CEO of MHANYS, said, “Through the leadership of Governor Hochul and Commissioner Sullivan, New York has created a pathway to the expansion of resources for young people and those that work with them. Combining Youth and Teen Mental Health First Aid will provide mental health information and resources to thousands of New Yorkers. The numbers of young people with mental health issues is staggering across the nation and New York is utilizing their resources to help respond to this crisis in an innovative and practical way.”

Last year, MHANYS’s School Mental Health Resource Center began its Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Across NYS project. The project provides YMHFA training to adults that regularly interact with youth.  OMH awarded MHANYS with a $1 million grant to develop and facilitate the trainings. Funding for the award was provided to OMH through expansion of the federal Community Mental Health Services Block Grant, which is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

This year, OMH provided an additional $1 million in State funds to expand the trainings to include Teen Mental Health First Aid, which is designed to teach teens ages 15-18 how to support a friend or classmate. Young people will be prepared to provide support for their peers as well as better cope with mental health challenges they themselves face. MHANYS expects to provide Teen Mental Health First Aid by this Fall.

Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among children and adolescents. Training focuses on how to best help young people who may be experiencing a mental health issue or a substance abuse problem.

MHANYS anticipates facilitating 40 in-person training sessions and 120 virtual sessions which will provide training to up to 3,600 participants. MHANYS will also provide instruction to individuals who wish to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid training themselves. This “train the trainer” model will help further expand access to training in communities across New York State. MHANYS will host two “Train the Trainer” sessions, which will prepare up to 32 people to become Youth Mental Health First Aid trainers.

Studies show that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes.

People interested in receiving Youth Mental Health First Aid training can learn more and register by visiting the MHANYS website at:






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