While half of all mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety believed to start by the age of 14, it’s believed most cases remain undetected or go untreated for up to ten years later.
Be it lack of awareness, inability to respond or just the stigma surrounding mental health getting in the way, The LightHouse Arabia – which is the only accredited provider of Mental Health First Aid programmes (MHFA) in the UAE - is looking to tackle the issue head on with the launch of its Teen-to-Teen Mental Health First Aid training.
The LightHouse Arabia
Building on its mission to help improve mental health across the Middle East, the platform has been created so that intervention can happen earlier, providing teenagers with the skills they need to recognize and respond to mental health problems and crises in their friends, while getting the help of a responsible adult more quickly.
Based on the belief that young people will often turn to each other when stressed out or upset, trainees are taught how to support their peers as ‘first responders’, while arming them with the knowledge and awareness of not needed to take on their problems alone.
The LightHouse Arabia
“It is critical that teens be trained in MHFA because they are the first people that come in contact with their struggling peers”, says Dr. Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director at The LightHouse Arabia. She adds, “However, because they lack the skills to appropriately handle the distressing situation when it arises, they end up feeling very overwhelmed and stressed. The tMHFA course teaches teens to detect and deal with mental health problems as they arise in peers.”
The Teen training is the third prong in The LightHouse Arabia’s existing training programmes – which up until now have been soley targeted at adults – and supports a younger yet crucial audience split into the two age groups of 13-15 and 16-18 years old.
Arming them with skills on how to respond to issues including depression, bullying, panic attacks and suicidal thoughts, teens won’t be taught how to counsel or diagnose, but will come away with the necessary skills to help a friend through a tough time.
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