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How to train your staff to address a mental health concern

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Hw t train yur staff t address a mental health cncern Train the Trainer Handut Claire Dzierzak, Kathleen Flberg, Jana Graczyk, and Andy Sinykin YMCA f the Greater Twin Cities Table f Cntents Supprting
Hw t train yur staff t address a mental health cncern Train the Trainer Handut Claire Dzierzak, Kathleen Flberg, Jana Graczyk, and Andy Sinykin YMCA f the Greater Twin Cities Table f Cntents Supprting Participants... 1 I. Why this is imprtant fr yuth-serving prgrams... 1 II. Universal Accmmdatins... 1 III. Expected vs. Unexpected Behavirs... 2 IV. Having the Cnversatin... 3 V. Additinal Supprt... 5 Supprting Participants I. Why this is imprtant fr yuth-serving prgrams Starting with stats: 50% f the ppulatin will have a diagnsable disrder at sme pint in their lifetime. 75% f peple with a mental illness will express it fr the first time during adlescent years (14-24 years ld) 1. Many factrs can act as triggers fr smene with a mental health cncern. These include a new rutine, new peple, lack f nrmal supprt system, hrmnal changes, rientatin twards peers, sexual rientatin and gender identity, cncerns abut appearance, experimenting with alchl and drugs, etc. A camp-like experience can intrduce sme f these factrs (i.e. new rutine and new peple) and it s ften a place where yung peple pen up t thers. This sessin is nt meant t teach yu abut mental illness and hw t distinguish ne type frm anther. This sessin fcuses n hw t train yur staff and what tls t prvide them s they can supprt a struggling camper wh is in mental/emtinal distress. Yu may already incrprate many f these strategies and activities int yur staff training, but this training prvides a streamlined way t implement them lking thrugh the lens f mental health. During this wrkshp, please keep in mind hw yu can and will adapt this training t meet the needs f yur wn prgram. Have yur staff share ideas f why an experience at yur prgram might be hard fr a yung persn, especially smene with a mental health cncern. Cmpile a list f ptential triggers with yur staff: bth their wn triggers and ptential triggers fr participants. Keep revisiting these thrughut the rest f the training and hw varius aspects f the training help address the list f triggers yur staff develped. II. Universal Accmmdatins The idea f universal accmmdatins fcuses n hw t structure a prgram r an experience in a way that makes it supprtive f the widest range f peple pssible. Universal accmmdatins can allw yu t mitigate the factrs that can act as triggers fr smene wh is already struggling and help yu avid having t make specific accmmdatins fr an individual. Obviusly we still need t meet ur participants where they are at and prvide individual supprt when necessary, but if yu set up a prgram that already addresses their needs yu avid making smene wh is already different even mre different. Equity vs. Equality fence. Where d universal accmmdatins cme in? Cmpile a list f universal accmmdatins/prtective factrs Supprt systems Adaptability Cnsistency and rutines Resiliency Well defined expectatins Healthy practices Mnitring activities Self-efficacy/self esteem Cmmunity Internal lcus f cntrl Rutines Feeling clse t at least ne adult Spirituality Shw yu care 1 Natinal Alliance n Mental Illness 1 Have yur staff brainstrm in small grups hw they culd implement universal accmmdatins frm the list int the prgrams and day-t-day activities. Intrduce team building activities fcused n building cnnectins Training fcused n cnflict reslutin, debriefing, and prviding feedback (bth psitive and cnstructive) III. Expected vs. Unexpected Behavirs Always remember that adlescence is a weird time. Emtinal stresses d nt always equate t a mental health disrder. This sectin will help yur staff recgnize red flags in behavir that shuld be mnitred and/r addressed. The sectin is titled expected vs. unexpected behavirs because it utlines when a behavir warrants a red flag designatin and will help staff recgnize when smething beynd adlescence weirdness is happening. The tw factrs that ften mve a behavir frm expected t unexpected are degree and frequency. If an expected adlescent behavir changes in its degree r frequency, that shuld be a red flag. Remind staff that we shuld nt make assumptins abut why a behavir is happening. We shuld keep ur eye ut fr triggers and remve them when we can, but we d nt knw every detail f a yung persn s life and the reasn fr the behavir. This is als a great pprtunity t address the ever present stigma f mental health and remind staff that when we talk abut this tpic we shuld avid labels that feed in t the stigma. They shuld als be encuraged their wn experience with the participants withut making the camper little them r prjecting their experience n the camper. Draw what adlescence lks like (pster prject) Have staff list expected adlescent behavirs and then make them int unexpected nes by changing either the degree r frequency. 2 Expected Nt eating a meal Being mdy n trail Withdrawal frm the grup Anxiety twards a new task/activity Inquiring abut Alchl/Drugs Reluctance t wake up Truble trusting cunselr Expressing verbal frustratin during a lng prtage/task Talks abut pets back hme Frequent appearance changes i.e. dying hair Unexpected IV. Having the Cnversatin A big part f supprting a participant wh is struggling invlves being empathetic and listening nnjudgmentally. This sectin fcuses n training staff hw t apprach and have a cnversatin with a participant. It is imprtant that we enter these situatins and cnversatins lking thrugh a trauma infrmed care lens. This means thinking and asking What happened t yu? instead f what is wrng with yu? Oftentimes when a participant is struggling, it is imprtant t remember what might be happening in their brain physilgically. As review, the amygdala (thumb) is the ancient part f the brain r the gate keeper. If a threat is felt, it is acted n. Fight r flight reactin. Hwever, luckily, the prefrntal crtex (fingers) is self-cntrl, emtinal regulatin, decisin-making, and prblem-slving. This is the part that is still develping in mst peple wh participate in ur prgrams and staff. This sectin is abut cnversatins with struggling participants, s it is imprtant t remind urselves f hw the brain functins. Essentially, hw t have cnversatins with brains. Remind yur staff that participants might already have their wn tls, make sure yu ask the camper what has helped in the past! Helpful and apprpriate phrases and techniques Phrases/Techniques t Use Phrases/Techniques t Avid 3 Phrases/Techniques t Use Empathetic listening letting smene be sad Hw are yu feeling? Hw lng have yu felt that way? That must be really hard Thank yu fr sharing that I statements Cncrete bservatins Validate Genuine Reassure and give hpe Help them I.D. emtins Silence is OK Relaxed, pen, alngside, calm/lw vice (inviting bdy language) Tls that wrk fr them? Patience What happened? On ramps t cnversatin Phrases/Techniques t Avid Buck up Cheer up At least Make them wn a feeling they re nt ready t wn What s wrng with yu? Expressing negative judgements Cmparisns t yur wn experiences Why did yu d that? Scenaris (practice and write yur wn). Make sure yur scenaris cver a variety f struggles yur campers and staff may encunter. Scenari 1: Scenari 2: Scenari 3: 4 V. Additinal Supprt Part f yur training shuld include helping staff recgnize when they re in ver their head r when they are trying t manage a situatin beynd their training and shuld seek additinal help. Belw is the excerpt frm YMCA Camp Widjiwagan s staff manual that address this tpic. Please take the time t develp yur wn s yu and yur staff have the same understanding f when they shuld pull in additinal help. Remember, Widjiwagan s staff manual lk thrugh the unique lens f ur prgram s it might nt meet the needs f yur wn prgram! Have staff rle play talking with a camper abut why they are ging t pull in anther persn r why additinal steps need t be taken t address a behavir/mental health cncern. Excerpt frm Widjiwagan s staff manual: Behavir and Mental Health Emergencies which deal with behavir and/r mental health cncerns that pse a threat t self r thers shuld be treated as any ther emergency. It is ur pririty t act in a way that safeguards the wellbeing (physical, mental, and emtinal) f ur participants. Cntact Camp if the wellbeing f smene is at risk and cannt be managed in the field. Yu shuld als cntact the apprpriate authrities when necessary (i.e. yu cannt reach Camp r determine that mre immediate actin needs t be taken). Belw are guidelines fr hw t apprach mental health and/r behavir cncerns in the field r at Widji. These situatins cme with a lt f grey area and there is hardly every ne right answer. Trail staff shuld be prepared fr the discmfrt that cmes with having t make a decisin and nt be certain that it is the crrect r best ptin. In rder t address this uncertainty, there are sme baseline questins yu can ask yurself t help yu make a decisin and identify when yu shuld seek additinal resurces. If yu call Camp, apprach the cnversatin as yu wuld with an injury r illness. Be prepared t describe the situatin, the steps yu have taken s far, and want yu need frm Camp. Baselines Ask yurself the fllwing questins. If yu answer yes t any f them, call Camp r seek additinal resurces. Is the situatin causing a camper t nt eat r sleep? Are there signs f self-harm? Is the behavir disruptive r destructive? If a behavir is disruptive, wrk with the camper t set expectatins and cntinue t cach them and prvide feedback. If the behavir is destructive t self r thers, seek additinal help r call Camp. Is the behavir r mental health cncern beynd yur ability t manage in the field? D the negative impacts f the behavir/mental health cncern n the trip utweigh the benefit t the camper being in the field? Has the camper expressed suicidal ideatins, thughts, r behavirs? Is a significant risk present? Is anyne at significant risk? Thank yu fr jining the cnversatin! Please reach ut if yu have any questins! and 5
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