Newly trained trainers from Georgia State University are Front Row: Dr. Emily Graybill, CLD and Dr. Catherine Perkins, Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education Back Row: Breanna Kelly, MSW, CLD; Dr. Cirleen DeBlaere, Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education; Erin Vinoski, MPH, CLD; Dr. Andrew Roach, CLD and Department of Counseling and Psychological Services, College of Education

Center for Leadership in Disability Receives Contract to Provide Youth Mental Health First Aid Training as Part of Georgia Project AWARE

Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) is pleased to announce to receipt of a five-year $800,000 contract from the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) to coordinate Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) Training and other professional development efforts. YMHFA is an evidence-based program designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help adolescents (age 12-18) who are experiencing behavioral health or addiction challenge or other crises.

The CLD’s training contract is funded as part of Georgia Project AWARE, a $10 million grant recently awarded to the GaDOE and its partners by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Georgia Project AWARE will assist three school districts (Muscogee County Schools, Newton County Schools, and Griffin-Spaulding Schools) and local mental health providers in blending education and mental health systems to provide a seamless framework of prevention and intervention within a multi-tiered framework. As part of this effort, the CLD will oversee implementation and evaluation of the YMHFA training program for over 350 educators and community members each year. In addition, CLD trainers will provide professional development sessions on cultural competence in mental health services for school psychologists, school counselors, and other student service providers in each participating school district. The CLD also will coordinate identification and implementation of a universal mental health screener in each school district.

Dr. Andrew Roach, CLD Associate Director and Coordinator for the YMHFA Training contract, commented, “We are honored to have the opportunity to contribute to Georgia Project AWARE—providing YMHFA training is an important component of this coordinated effort to improve mental health services for children and adolescents across the state. Community members who complete the 8-hour YMHFA training will be better prepared to support young people who show symptoms of mental health difficulties until appropriate professional help can be engaged. Just like regular first aid supports an individual experiencing a medical emergency until paramedics can arrive, YMHFA can make a real difference for young people experiencing a mental health crisis.”

The Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University is one of 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Since 2008, it has been housed within the Center for Healthy Development and the School of Public Health at Georgia State. Its mission is to translate research into sustainable community practices that contribute to independent, self-determined, inclusive, and productive lives for people with disabilities and their families.