Youth mental health first aid trainings offered this fall

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to strengthen rural communities and support youth during the new school year.

Youth mental health remains at the forefront of many people’s minds. Over the last few years, youth mental health challenges have continued to rise. In response, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach continues to provide Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to community members statewide.

This program provides adults with tools they can use to identify when a youth (ages 6 to 18) in their life might be struggling with a mental health and/or substance use problem.

“Research shows that half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and 75% begin by age 25. Recovery from mental illness is possible and likely, but the sooner a person receives appropriate treatment, the better the outcome,” said Demi Johnson, behavioral health program specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

ISU Extension and Outreach will offer Youth Mental Health First Aid on Oct. 7 and Nov. 7, and both classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. via Zoom. All virtual classes require pre-registration and approximately two hours of pre-work. Private classes for groups of 15 to 30 participants are also available upon request.

The cost is $55. However, adults identifying as or working with farm families can register at no cost for any of these programs by using the code “AGPRO” when registering, thanks to current grant funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. To register, go to

Participants will learn how to connect youth to appropriate support and resources when necessary. A five-step action plan will be taught to guide participants through the process of reaching out and offering appropriate support.

“Everyone can benefit from taking a mental health first aid course. Learning more about mental health can help reduce the stigma associated with behavioral health problems. When we can recognize signs of trouble, we can help young people get the assistance they need,” said Johnson.

For more information, contact Demi Johnson at [email protected].

Other resources

Iowa Concern, offered by ISU Extension and Outreach, provides confidential access to stress counselors and an attorney for legal education, as well as information and referral services for a wide variety of topics. With a toll-free phone number, live chat capabilities and a website, Iowa Concern services are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week at no charge. To reach Iowa Concern, call 800-447-1985; language interpretation services are available. Or visit the website,, to live chat with a stress counselor one-on-one in a secure environment. Or email an expert regarding legal, finance, stress or crisis and disaster issues.

Finding Answers Now. As Iowans deal with disruptions to their families and communities, this website at provides information to help you cope with concerns about stress and relationships, personal finance, and nutrition and wellness.

Project Recovery Iowa offers free virtual counseling and assistance for all Iowans needing support. Counselors are available 24/7. Iowans of all ages may join groups online to find support and learn creative strategies for coping with the effects of the pandemic. To request support, go to or call the Iowa Warm Line at 1-844-775-9276.