Caring Contact, a crisis hotline that serves Northern and Central New Jersey, will be offering Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in Westfield on July 16th and 23rd. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human service workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction issue or is in crisis.

Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people.  The course 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.  Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.

“Too often we think mental illness applies only to those with serious issues, for example, someone who is exhibiting easily recognizable symptoms or someone under a physician’s care,” said Janet Sarkos, Caring Contact executive director. “But people experiencing mental health issues are all around us, perhaps among our friends and neighbors, co-workers, classmates or even within our own family. Yet too many of us are not trained to recognize the signs and offer help. This training enables you to do that.”

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The eight-hour course is being offered in two four-hour sessions, on July 16 and 23 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at 53 Cardinal Drive, Westfield, NJ.  Youth Mental Health First Aid is listed on the National Suicide Prevention Registry of Evidence-Based Programs.   Successful completion of the course includes a three-year Youth Mental Health First Aid certification.  Caring Contact is offering the training for $75. To learn more or register, visit or call 908-301-1899.

About Caring Contact

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed caring and crisis hotline providing active listening support and best-in-class education to the Central and Northern New Jersey community. Caring Contact attentively and compassionately serve those in emotional distress and educate our communities about the power of personal connection. They are affiliated with CONTACT USA, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Association of Suicidology. If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, call us at 908-232-2880.To learn more, visit