Drug Free Marion County and the Association for 100 Black Women hosted a Youth Mental Health First Aid certification seminar at the beautiful Indiana Health Foundation Building in Downtown Indianapolis. They learned about how mental illness and youth adolescence look very similar and how to know if a young person is suffering from a mental health condition as early as possible. Since early intervention is the key to the most successful outcomes for anyone, young or old, this training better prepared them to identify and reach out to a young person in need. This was one of our favorite groups to train to date! Congratulations to our new mental health first aiders!
Purdue University hosted its second Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education seminar at the Rec Center. The faculty and staff at Purdue are always seeking ways to make college life better for students. The Dean of Students and her staff weren’t just fabulous participants, but they also had some artistic talent among them. We had to share the posters they made in class, because they were fantastic!
This weekend when I was teaching at a Youth Mental Health First Aid seminar, I met a woman who is the co-founder of a Mindfulness program which I thought sounded like a fantastic program to become involved in for Mental Health Awareness Month. There are so many wonderful training programs about mental health and wellness, as well as techniques which can be learned to help cope with mental health challenges, and this sounded like something very promising.
So what is mindfulness, anyway? It is pretty simple, actually. Mindfulness is the quality of being aware, really aware. In the case of mental wellness, it means being aware of your state of mind, emotions, body, circumstances, surrounding environment, and effects of behaviors. It might be easy to think of mindfulness as a form of meditation, a type of meditation that brings you to full realization of yourself without being overtly affected by outside forces.
There are some benefits to practicing mindfulness:
1.) Anyone can do it, because the practice of mindfulness does not require anyone to change who they are, just how they think about things. Since no one has to change to become mindful, the results may be longer lasting than other strategies.
2.) Science has been showing us that taking some time to be quiet or to slow down, on occasion, is beneficial to personal health. Part of being mindful comes from taking extra time to think and discover the self and realize what connections have an effect on us.
3.) Being present in our own lives makes people more aware of themselves, their abilities, their effects on others, and their potential. Taking all of those things into consideration gives people insight on what they can do, change, and support to strengthen the good and move away from the not-so-good.
4.) Mindfulness results in kinder, more resilient and innovative people. It allows us to tap into the potential that we knew we had and the potential that we didn’t realize until we took time to contemplate who and what we are in the context in which we have been in and could be in the future.
I think that the act of being present more in our lives can change the world, starting with the mental and emotional health of ourselves. When we understand ourselves and our circumstances better, we understand when we need help and when we can help others much more easily. We also become kinder and treat other people better, something that can change the world for the better.
Recently, 32 people certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid at Adams Central Community Schools. Pam had a wonderful training day with the educators, staff, and guests who work with youth on a daily basis in Monroe, Indiana. These groups are presenting their posters during class.
I want to extend special thanks to Katie Isch of Adams Central for organizing the event (and bringing a cake!), NAMI-Indiana for providing the grant which paid for the training, and the special organization which provided breakfast for the troops.
For information about how you can bring Mental Health First Aid or youth Mental Health First Aid to your organization, please contact us at MHFA@educationwellness.org. If you are looking for a class in Indiana, please click on our calendar tab, above, or go to the Mental Health First Aid website and search for a class at