Mental health first aid for teens in crisis

Tamara Wilson and Judy Schwarz are graduates of youth mental health first aid courses. Picture: Shawn Smits

A Gisborne mum who took part in a youth mental health first aid program is encouraging others to equip themselves with skills that could save a life.

Judy Schwarz said the courses offered by Macedon Ranges council five times a year at Woodend, Romsey, Gisborne and Kyneton provided essential knowledge for anyone involved in the lives of young people.

‘‘We have a lot of young people in this area who have mental health issues,’’ she said.

‘‘The Macedon Ranges has one of the highest rates of suicide. I guess I looked at my kids and their peers and thought about some of the people they knew who’d taken their own lives.

‘‘I thought, this is a real issue that as adults we need to be looking at.’’

Ms Schwarz said the 14-hour course, which covers topics including anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse and eating disorders, had given her the confidence to be able to provide initial help to someone in a crisis situation.

‘‘I just feel like I’ve got a greater awareness,’’ she said. ‘‘Having that knowledge is very comforting.

“Sometimes children don’t know where to go or who to tell.

Sometimes they mightn’t even know they have a problem and might need help to bring it out of them.’’

The first course for this year will be held in Woodend over four nights next month. Details: 5422 0275.