Skip to main content

Youth Mental Health First Aid

You are more likely to encounter someone — friend, family member, student, neighbor, or member of the community — in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Youth Mental Health First Aid teaches a 5-step action plan to offer initial help to young people showing signs of a mental illness or in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self-help care.

This is an eight-hour certification course that teaches participants the risk factors and warning signs of a variety of mental health challenges common among adolescents, including anxiety, depression, psychosis, eating disorders, ADHD, disruptive behavior disorders, and substance use disorder.  Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide any therapy or counseling-rather, participants learn to support a youth developing signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in an emotional crisis by applying a core five-step action plan. 

This course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents, ages 12-18 - social workers, administrators, teachers, nurses, counselors, coaches, secretaries, registrars, lunch staff, bus drivers, and leaders of faith communities, law enforcement, and other caring citizens.

For school site training, please contact us for more information.

Crisis Hotlines and Resources
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-TALK (8255)
    The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

    • Find more specific resources here for youth, disaster survivors, Native Americans, veterans, loss survivors, LGBTQ+, attempt survivors, deaf/hard of hearing/hearing loss, and “ayuda en español”.

  • Contact the San Diego Access & Crisis Line, if you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis and needs immediate help. Trained and experienced counselors are available to provide support, referrals, and crisis intervention. The call is free and confidential. If emergency medical care is needed, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room of the nearest hospital.

Crisis Line 888-724-7240 (7 days a week, 24 hours a day)

Live chat M-F 4:00 – 10:00 pm

TDD/TTY Dial 711

  • Text "HOME" to 741741 to reach a Crisis Counselor. Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support via a medium people already use and trust.

  • MY3 is an app for individuals who may be having thoughts of suicide, or who have a history of suicidal behavior. It is designed to help these individuals stay safe when they are experiencing thoughts of suicide by identifying a support system, building a safety plan, accessing important resources, getting support at times of greatest risk, and accessing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7.

  • The Virtual Hope Box (VHB) is a smartphone application designed for use by patients and their behavioral health providers as an accessory to treatment. The VHB contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking. Patients and providers can work together to personalize the VHB content on the patient's own smartphone according to the patient's specific needs.

  • 211 San Diego

  • Mental Health America of San Diego County

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) San Diego

  • San Diego County Behavioral Health Services

  • National Council for Behavioral Health