FILE PHOTO – mental health and stress. Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

A new project from the Institute for Disability Research, Policy and Practice at Utah State University is designed to help youth leaders identify someone that might be experiencing a mental health issue and then find resources to treat those issues.

Ty Aller is a researcher at the Institute who said this project got started as a 16-week college course to increase students’ ability to prevent mental health issues from occurring on campus.

“We started training youth to kind of do three processes,” Aller explained,” identify mental health issues, locate evidence-based resources and then respond to mental health issues if they, or a close friend of theirs, might be experiencing one.”

Aller said training of 4-H adult leaders started in May.

“They’ve been very receptive to taking information and they’ve said that it’s impacted their work because since they go out and work in this community they’re noticing the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. So, qualitatively they’re telling us, ‘hey, it seems to be helpful and I know what to do now.’”

Along the way, the Institute’s team will evaluate the project’s effectiveness through pre-and post-tests, while also asking youth what they found useful about the training.

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