CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – Canyon High School is participating in the country’s expanded teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) pilot program. The school will train more than 300 sophomore students, this year. The training is the first of its kind developed for high school students in the U.S.

“This is a special opportunity for Canyon High School to be honored as a grant recipient. Canyon High was selected as one of 35 high schools in the country to implement teen Mental Health First Aid,” said Dr. Darryl Flusche, Superintendent of Canyon ISD. “tMHFA is equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to foster their own wellness and to support each other.”

tMHFA is an in-person training designed for high school students to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, particularly how to identify and respond to a developing mental health or substance use problem among their peers. Similar to CPR, students learn a 5-step action plan to help their friends who may be facing a mental health problem or crisis, such as suicide.

The course specifically highlights the important step of involving a responsible and trusted adult. To ensure additional support for students taking the training, Canyon High School has also trained all school staff in Youth Mental Health First Aid for Adults Working with Young People.
“We’re thrilled Canyon High School is one of the first U.S. high schools to participate in teen Mental Health First Aid,” said Chuck Ingoglia, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health. “Teens trust their friends, so they need to be trained to recognize signs of mental health or substance use problems in their peers. The number one thing a teen can do to support a friend dealing with anxiety or depression is to help the friend seek support from a trusted adult.”

“With teen Mental Health First Aid, we like to say, it’s okay to not be okay,” said Lady Gaga, co-founder of Born This Way Foundation, as she spoke with 16 students who completed the first tMHFA pilot in eight schools across the country.