Community members learn at 'Youth Mental Health First Aid Training'

Published: Jan. 31, 2019 at 9:43 PM AKST
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Thirty community members gathered together at a 'Youth Mental Health First Aid Training,' hosted free of charge as part of a grant program to promote suicide awareness and prevention around the state.

Daniel Gummo, training coordinator with Alaska Training Cooperative, said learning tools to help others can be beneficial for the participant as well.

"On one level, in the state of Alaska you can't live here without suicide affecting you and the people you know. And on another level mental health concerns permeate our society. So for that point, people are naturally compassionate and kind and really coming to youth mental health first aid, an opportunity for the best in us to come out and really allow us to heal as a community," said Gummo.

One of the lessons Gummo passed on to the participants is that they are not and do not have to be licensed professionals, but they just need to know what to look for and how they can help people in need get to the professionals who can help them.

Laralee Walston said this training was helpful for her in her career as well as in her role as a mom.

"As a mother of young children, I have two thirteen-year-old children and a twelve year old, so I think it's very important to me to watch that, but also my children's friends, just to be able to say, okay wait that's not normal behavior. That's something that we can, we really need to the direct authority or somebody that can help you," said Walston.

The training happens around the state hoping to equip community members with the knowledge they need to help the community, one step at a time.

For more information on the training: