Health & Wellness

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training Being Offered in Westfield July 25-26

Listener Laurie Fienberg volunteers for a suicide prevention hotline. Credits: CONTACT We Care

WESTFIELD, NJ -- Crisis listening line Caring Contact will be offering Youth Mental Health First Aid Training in Westfield July 25 and July 26. The training is ideal for parents, teachers, coaches, counselors, pastors and adolescent group leaders.

The eight-hour course is being offered in two four-hour sessions, on July 25 and July 26 from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the First Baptist Church located at 170 Elm Street in Westfield.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:

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  • One in five youth aged 13-18 live with a mental illness.
  • More than one in 10 youths have a mood disorder; one in 10 have a behavior or conduct disorder; and nearly one in 10 have an anxiety disorder.
  • The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is eight to 10 years.
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youths aged 10-24 and 90 percent of those who died by suicide had a underlying mental illness.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training teaches participants the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Participants will learn a five-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

"Our youth are both our most precious and most vulnerable residents of society," said Janet Sarkos, Caring Contact executive director. “Teenagers face incredible pressure in today's environment and are bombarded by often conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. They may not know they are experiencing mental health illness or may be too ashamed to ask for help. They need the adults who have the most influence in their lives to help them. This training will enable participants to do that."

Registration is limited. Visit or call 908-301-1899.

Caring Contact is an award-winning, volunteer-staffed crisis hotline and listening community providing active listening support and best-in-class education to the Central and Northern New Jersey community. More than 100 volunteer listeners attentively and compassionately serve those in emotional distress, answering between 9,000 and 12,000 calls per year from people in crisis, having suicidal thoughts or simply feeling depressed and lonely. Caring Contact also educates communities about the power of personal connection.

Caring Contact serves Central and Northern New Jersey and is a primary responder to calls to the national suicide prevention lifeline (1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-SUICIDE) that originate in New Jersey. If you are in crisis and need someone to listen, call them at 908-232-2880. Those preferring to seek supporting through texting may text “heart” to 741-741. To learn more, visit Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer listener should click here.

The hotline also provides best-in-class training to the Central and Northern New Jersey Community.

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