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Youth Mental Health First Aid



1: One of your students was a victim of physical assault some years ago and has since been
diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. You’re with her when she breaks into a sweat, doubles over as
if in pain and starts to hyperventilate.


Do you:

a) Move with her to a quiet place, reassure her, and help her to slow her breathing.

b) Give her some time alone because giving her attention during these episodes will only
encourage similar behavior in the future.

c) Take her somewhere quiet and help her calm down over a Diet Coke. Gently point out that
her attacker is long gone and her fears are unfounded.


2: You notice that a family friend who is a High School Junior has been functioning less well as the
school year progresses. At the beginning of the semester, she was vibrant and seemed to enjoy her
classes. Now, she has clearly lost weight, seems depressed, has a hard time paying attention,
expresses odd ideas sometimes when you talk with her, and seems to have lost her motivation.


 Do you:

a) Tell her she needs substance abuse treatment and you are sorry she succumbed to the
drinking and drugs that are all too common in high school today.

b) Suggest that she get academic counseling or tutoring to help her get back on track.

c) Express your concern and offer to help her get an appointment with a counselor or other
services after discussing the situation with her parents.


3: You have long suspected that a young man in your church youth group has been using marijuana
and possibly drinking. Lately he has seemed preoccupied with both substances wearing pot leaf tshirts, beer company hats, etc., as well as confused and anxious. In fact he seems to have
undergone a significant personality change.

Do you:

a) Tell him you’re concerned about him and that you’ve noticed changes in his behavior. Ask
him to talk with you about these changes.

b) Tell him to quit drinking because alcohol dulls your thinking while marijuana is a natural
substance that doesn’t interfere with brain function.

c) Tell him that he has a drug problem and you cannot see him again until he has gotten it under