University of Missouri offers youth mental illness course - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

University of Missouri offers youth mental illness course

Local educators gathered on Dec.3 in Poplar Bluff for a specialized course in youth mental health first aid. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt, KFVS) Local educators gathered on Dec.3 in Poplar Bluff for a specialized course in youth mental health first aid. (Source: Sherae Honeycutt, KFVS)
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) -

Local educators gathered on Dec. 3 in Poplar Bluff for a specialized course in youth mental health first aid.

The focus of the class was helping identify youth in crisis and plan for early prevention.

Instructors say the class is important for the development of young adults.

"It can help us recognize signs and symptoms to see what is typical adolescent behavior," said Stephanie Milner, a 4-H youth development specialist, "and what could actually be a sign or symptom that they could possibly have a mental illness."

The National Alliance of mental illness reports that:

  • 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness.
  • 20 percent of youth ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition.
  • 11 percent of youth have a mood disorder.
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24.

With those statistics it's easy to see why educators want to make sure they are able to help.

The class hoped to give them the opportunity to understand youth better and empower them to do their best through strong youth mentorship.

"We have so many children that we see every day and it's hard to get to everybody," said Sheri Kennedy, a youth leader, "But, I do believe that is the key. For us to have a personal relationship with each and every child."

The University of Missouri Extension says they put on these classes about three times a year.

Each person who takes the class receives a certificate and credit for attending.

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