Georgia State University Partners with Lady Gaga

Foundation Mission to Train in Mental Health First Aid Comes to Atlanta

Atlanta, GA: A Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training on November 28, 2017 with 30 DeKalb County Schools staff coincided with a visit to Atlanta by Lady Gaga as part of her Joanne World Tour. This course reached maximum capacity and all participants received swag provided by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to train 150,000 people in Mental Health First Aid by bringing courses to every U.S. stop of her Joanne World Tour. This Atlanta session was led by a YMHFA facilitator from Georgia Project AWARE/Georgia State University (Josephine Mhende) and a facilitator from Mental Health America (Julie Davis).

Georgia Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) is a federal grant awarded to the Georgia Department of Education, through which Georgia State University’s Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) is contracting to provide a range of training and technical assistance, including YMHFA training and evaluation. Project AWARE increases recognition of mental health issues among school-aged youth; provides training in YMHFA; and connects children, youth, and families who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services.

The Georgia Project AWARE YMHFA instructors have scheduled over 51 trainings in YMHFA since August 1, 2017 alone, and provided instruction to over 3,300 individuals since 2015. To meet growing demand, the Georgia Project AWARE instructors have partnered with Mental Health America to bring YMHFA to more areas in Georgia. Dr. Andrew Roach, Principal Investigator for YMHFA at CLD, shared how “rewarding [it is] to know that training participants find the content and tools helpful in their work with adolescents.” DeKalb County School District in fact, has decided to train each of their 500+ support service staff in YMHFA over the next couple of years. These trainings, Dr. Roach continues, will “help community members respond more effectively to the needs of young people experiencing mental health challenges.”

For more information about Georgia Project AWARE, visit or contact the Georgia Project AWARE State Coordinator Rebecca Blanton at [email protected]


About CLD: The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). CLD provides interdisciplinary education, community training, technical assistance, research and information dissemination with the goal of improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities of all ages and their families. CLD is administratively located within the Center for Healthy Development and the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. For more information, please go to