Making Ohio AWARE: Building Statewide Mental Health First Aid Capacity

Students cheer on the Redhawks during a sporting event at Miami University.

Project At-A-Glance

  • funded by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • 5-year time period – October 1, 2014 through September 30, 2019
  • total amount funded = $1,855,388
  • partners – Ohio Department of Education, Discovery Center for Evaluation, Research, & Professional Learning, and the Educational Services Centers in Cuyahoga, Warren and Wood Counties

Project Goals

  • build and expand the capacity of state and local educational agencies to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth
  • provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues in children and young adults
  • connect children, youth, and families who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services

Component One

This component concentrates on addressing the mental health needs of children, youth, families, and communities. This will be accomplished through the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan of activities, services, and strategies to decrease youth violence and promote healthy child and youth development.

It is anticipated that Component One will improve coordination of state and local policies and resources thus providing local communities with increased access to mental health services (school & community based).

Component Two

This component focuses on the implementation of Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) at both the state and community levels. YMHFA is an 8-hour training designed to train adults who interact with school-aged youth (12-18 years of age) to detect and respond to mental health crisis and mental illness in youth.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

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

How Can You Become Involved in Project AWARE?

  • partner on the development of online professional development training sessions
  • assist in researching and drafting information write-ups on school mental health topics
  • provide support to training staff during professional development trainings in community
  • proof-read and edit materials that will be disseminated to the community
  • check online resources for accuracy and functionality (e.g. links are working)