NAMI Mississippi to host youth mental health training in Oxford

Oxford residents interested in learning how to treat youth mental health patients can get a three-year certification in mid-February.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter of Mississippi is hosting a Youth Mental Health First Aid Training on February 12 at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, according to a release.

The course is meant for adults who directly interact with adolescents or younger people on a daily basis, and NAMI Mississippi Executive Director Tameka Tobias said that was one of the reasons why Oxford was chosen as a city to host the training day.

“That was one of the considerations when we were putting together a schedule,” Tobias said. “We do have an Oxford affiliate, and we wanted to partner with our affiliate as well.”

The class is directly focused on teaching adult and supervisor figures how to help an adolescent – between ages 12-18 – that is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or is in crisis.

Tobias said the day is not only for those who need to assist high school students, but for those who need to aid college students.

“Most of the time, once you get to the college phase, the first psychotic break will happen at the age of 19,” Tobias said. “They’re no longer in a structured environment.”

According to NAMI Mississippi, half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and three-fourths of lifetime cases happen by age 24.

The training day can also offer NAMI Mississippi insight on what drug students are taking, and help them adapt avenues to assist students in the future.

Furthermore, teaching college kids how to assist with mental illnesses can help pass along information to future generations that might not listen to someone that’s not the same age.

“College students can go back and mentor young adults,” Tobias said. “You’ll have that college student to serve as a liaison.”

Tobias said she wants to talk about mental illness on the same spectrum as drugs and alcohol.

“We want the community to be educated, “ she said. “We want to get rid of the stigma.”

Median Age of Onset

Anxiety Disorders – Age 11.

Eating Disorders – Age 15.

Substance Use Disorders – Age 20.

Schizophrenia – Age 23.

Bipolar – Age 25.

Depression – Age 32.

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