It is no secret that the mental health of teenagers has been steadily declining. According to a 2022 survey of teens age 12- 17 conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), only 48% of teens say they talk to their parents about mental health while only 22% speak to their friends about it.
Mental Health First Aid Colorado (MHFACO) is looking to change these statistics by implementing teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) throughout the state. This course teaches students in grades 10 – 12 how to identify signs and symptoms of behavioral health needs among their peers and within themselves. It also teaches them how to find a trusted adult to confide in regarding concerns for themselves and their friends.
The buzz surrounding this program has caught the attention of national news, and recently the program director of MHFACO, Betsy Molgano, was featured in an article that has spread across our state and country. The article can be found via the Kiowa County Press, among many other outlets.
Teen Mental Health First Aid also caught the attention of the Joint Budget Committee during the 2023 legislative session. Through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) MHFACO received $75,000 to help cover additional teacher trainings and materials for the course.
While Colorado has already expanded this program in certain school districts, MHFACO is looking to create more opportunities for high schools and youth organizations to implement the program. If you are interested in learning more about tMHFA, please reach out to Betsy at email@example.com. You can also learn about the other Mental Health First Aid modules offered at www.mhfaco.org.