Local leaders learn new tools to help youth experiencing a mental crisis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – From program directors to city leaders and advocates, leaders with Stop the Violence Indianapolis noticed there was an area they could improve on – mental health. Friday, the group hosted its first Youth Mental Health First Aid Training.

Think of it as CPR for your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Local leaders are being armed with the skills to breathe new life into our youth from the inside out.

“But what I love about it most, it’s a lot of statistical data to tie in with the youth,” said Beatrice Beverly, Program Director for Stop the Violence Indianapolis.

Hamilton Center, Inc. offered to teach the classes for free thanks to a grant from Project Aware. During the 8-hour training, they became the students learning ways to recognize signs and symptoms of a youth experiencing a mental crisis.

The instructor’s message centered around youth being heard and not judged.

“We have many of the young men in our program the Beautillion which is for teens who have had incidents of suicide in their school and in their neighborhood,” said volunteer Willis Bright of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis.

They learned being a mentor isn’t enough. But can you offer hope, help and recovery.

“Because I tell my kids ‘get over it’ all the time. You can’t do that. Don’t tell them to get over it because that feels differently to them right now,” Beverly said.

Jessica Sanchez says she’s noticed a gap in mental health care for our Latino neighbors.

“There’s not a lot of bilingual staff or bilingual professionals that they can support or provide that help so I’m here to learn as much as I can and take it out the community,” said health advocate Jessica Sanchez with Community Health.

And now nearly 40 youth advocates are ready to fill the gap and save lives.

“We can touch so many lives and be able to give them a voice where were are listening to some of the things that they are going through and get them the help that they need,” Beverly said.

The adults say one of the most beneficial parts of the training was meeting leaders from other organizations that they could partner with in the future and bring resources together.

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