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Early Intervention is Key for Mental Health

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five young people ages 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness in their life, and half of all lifetime cases of mental illness start by age 14. Unaddressed mental health concerns in young people can affect every aspect of their lives—from relationships to performance in school.  In order to help the adults recognize issues and how to support a young person, United Counseling Service now offers Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training.

“We are very excited to be able to provide this resource to the community,” said Lorna Mattern, Executive Director of United Counseling Service. “Intervening early and helping people access treatment as soon as possible is imperative in getting young people the help they need.”

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. Youth Mental Health First Aid training equip teachers, parents and caregivers with the skills they need to identify and reach out to a young person who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use problem. Participants learn to support a youth who may be developing signs and symptoms of a mental health issue or in an emotional crisis.

If you are interested in scheduling a Youth Mental Health First Aid training for a group or organization contact Amie Niles at This training has been generously underwritten and is offered at no cost to the participants.

With close to 300 employees operating in 15 facilities throughout Bennington County, United Counseling Service provides support and guidance to help individuals and families improve their quality of life. UCS provides outpatient counseling and addictions services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities and a nationally recognized Head Start program.

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