Reach out: Train to aid mental health issues
Thanks to the Richmond Times-Dispatch for publishing the article about the invisible toll the pandemic is having on the mental health of marginalized populations. Addressing the needs of youth in our area, with particular education about and attention to the “invisibility” of our Latino and Black youth, can make a difference. That difference comes in the form of intentional action. Many people don’t know what to do when they suspect someone is emotionally suffering and don’t respond so not to “add to the problem.” I challenge educators, parents, friends and anyone encountering youth to know that their outreach will matter. The perfect words are not as important as the offering of attention and hope. I work at an agency that intentionally offers hope and resources to youth, particularly in consideration of the layered traumas that the author refers to in Latino and Black communities. My own intentionality comes in the form of teaching not only hope but practical language and actions for responding to youth through a workshop called Mental Health First Aid. Learning what to do and what to say offers anyone, anywhere the ability to be the one to make a difference in the life of a youth with a mental health challenge. There are several sources in the Richmond region to get this training, including my workplace. We at the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls have received grants to provide the class free of charge. We’re putting out a rallying cry to make Mental Health First Aid as common as traditional first aid training. Mental health issues are on the rise due to the pandemic, particularly in marginalized communities. But we can all educate ourselves and be prepared, pandemic or not, to help our youth struggling with mental health issues. Reach out. You are more powerful than you know.
THE VIRGINIA HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.