Franciscan Health to host Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Franciscan Health to host Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Franciscan Health Crown Point is hosting a Youth Mental Health First Aid training course in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention during National Suicide Prevention Week.

The course will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 at Franciscan Health Crown Point’s Marian Education Center, Suite Clare, 1201 S. Main St. Lunch will be provided. The normally $100 training course is being offered for just $10.

“Our department identified through the Community Health Needs Assessment that mental health is a top need across the system,” said Courtney Palmer, community health improvement coordinator for Franciscan Health. “To meet identified needs, we created the Community Health Improvement Plan. This includes providing Applied Suicide Interventional Skills Training; Question, Persuade, Refer training and Youth Mental Health First Aid training.”

Palmer said Franciscan Health also is developing a mental health program for organizations serving the community.

The issue is being highlighted ahead of National Suicide Prevention Week. The Sept. 4-10 event, organized by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, aims to create awareness and help people learn how they can play a role in saving lives.

Suicide is one of the top 10 leading causes of death in the U.S. and rose by 30% between 2000 and 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Efforts are underway to reduce the national suicide rate by 20% by 2025. According to an Indiana Family and Social Services Administration study released in April, 21.6% of Indiana residents have some form of mental illness, which is higher than the Midwestern and national averages.

Franciscan Health Crown Point’s Trauma Program this week hosted a free adult Mental Health First Aid Training Course in partnership with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department. Participants included staff members from the Lake County Corrections Division, Franciscan Health, the Lake County Coroner’s Office and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It’s similar to CPR first aid,” said Kristin Huseman, a social worker with the Lake County Sheriff’s Department who led the training. “You know what to do if someone is showing signs, what to say and who to hand them off to if they need additional help.”

Huseman said everyone can benefit from the skills taught in mental health first aid training.

“Every single person, no matter how perfect their lives may seem, will experience a friend or family member with a mental health challenge at some point in their lives,” Huseman said.

The Youth Mental Health First Aid training course is 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 between the ages of 12 and 18 who are experiencing mental health or addiction challenges or who are in crisis.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development and teaches a five-step action plan for how to help young people in crisis and non-crisis situations.

Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD) and eating disorders.

The course is open to the public and not limited to medical professionals.

Registration is available online at

For questions or more information, contact Tina Hoffmann, community health improvement coordinator, at (317) 528-6609 or