String Theory Charter staff gets youth mental health first aid training

"We are where AIDS and HIV was 20, 30 years ago. We just have to ... break down that stigma."

Mark Abrams
August 28, 2018 - 1:59 pm
String Theory Charter

Mark Abrams/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Teachers and counselors at the String Theory School on Vine Street in Center City spent Tuesday in a seminar learning about mental health issues among young people and how to respond to them.

Carissa Johnson, president of mental health advocacy group Project 375, is supervising the training for more than 200 teachers and staff who serve some 1,500 students in grades five through 12 at the campus.

Johnson says the Youth Mental Health First Aid training is designed to empower adults to provide a front-line assessment of a student.

"This is a big epidemic," Johnson said. "This is a problem. We are where AIDS and HIV was 20, 30 years ago. We just have to make people aware and just break down that stigma."

Malik Gray, from Philadelphia's Department of Behaviorial Health, said, "This training is about prevention. And when you give people the tools to be able to access these things, guess what: It lowers their anxiety, and then they're more likely to get involved."