Mental Health Training for School Nurses

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Training is a way to increase the level of baseline knowledge about mental health and substance abuse issues and to decrease the negative perceptions often associated with these themes.  This training can also increase one’s confidence to intervene and refer people to the resources that do exist.  MHFA offers two primary curricula: Adult and Youth.

School Nurses would be suited for the Youth MHFA course as it covers ages 12-18.  This course teaches a five (5) step action plan, ALGEE, and one of its main components is Listening Non-judgmentally which would be best suited for school nurses when it comes to students trying to explain their health issues, either physical, or the silent, invisible pain known as a mental health challenge.

School nurses are often a student’s sounding board and should therefore be prepared to assess for harm, listen, give reassurance and information, and encourage professional support when needed.   This course will also make the school nurses more aware of the prevalence of anxiety and depression, and know how to recognize signs and symptoms of potential suicidal ideations in teens throughout the school year.

Becoming a certified Youth Mental Health First Aider for three (3) years, school nurses will make the school system healthier, both mentally and physically, and a more supportive and stigma free culture, one that is accepting of today’s students’ typical and more serious stressors.