Springfield, MO – Over 2,000 local individuals are now trained on how to properly identify and interact with a young adult experiencing mental health challenges.
But, health experts like Chris Davis of Community Partnership, said the work isn’t done yet.
“It’s important that we don’t let those young people kind of live in silence,” said Davis. “Having just those open honest questions with a young person, How are you doing? If you ever need to talk I’m here for you, can be helpful.”
Davis recommends for parents to not wait until a tragedy occurs to develop an open line of communication with ther child.
Instead, Davis encourages parents to use news stories as a means of discussion to add to your everyday conversations.
“Using those opportunities as opportunities to discuss with a child. And just making that part of the normal conversations that we have with our young people,” said Davis.
Davis and his team offer a Youth Mental Health First Aid as a way to help parents.
The eight-hour-course introduces participants to unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents — and how to help a youth in crisis.
Davis said the feedback he receives from the training is overwhelmingly positive.
“A young person shared that the next morning they were planning on attempting suicide and because of the intervention, were able to get assistance and is doing great now,” said Davis.
Lost and Found Grief Center, a partner with Community Partnership, also works with individuals as they navigate the grief process.
“Grief is hard it takes longer than you think it’s gonna take, it’s not neat and tidy and it hurts a lot, but it’s important to know that you are not alone,” said Jeanene Gerhardt, Program Coordinator for Lost and Found Grief Center.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds.