Washington DC (November 20, 2013)-Youth Mental Health First Aid courses in the US now feature a film starring Kevin Hines - speaker, author, and advocate for suicide prevention and mental wellness.
The film, developed for Youth Mental Health First Aid, features Hines sharing his struggle with mental illness and substance use. In his junior year of high school, Hines was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In September 2000, Hines attempted suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He survived the 220-foot plunge and is one of only 34 Golden Gate Bridge jump survivors.
Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour in-person training designed for anyone to learn about mental illnesses and addictions, including risk factors and warning signs. Similar to CPR, participants learn a 5-step action plan to help young people who are developing a mental health problem or in crisis.
"It took me a long time to heal physically and emotionally. I learned all I could about my illness and worked hard to defeat it, eventually winning the battle with alcoholism and bipolar disorder," says Hines, an international speaker on suicide prevention and mental wellness and recipient of the 2012 Welcome Back Lifetime Achievement award from Eli Lilly and Company and the National Council for Behavioral Health (National Council).
In the film, Hines recounts how he won the battle for mental health and describes the people who helped him along the way. He shares the ways that the concepts from the Mental Health First Aid action plan were or could have been helpful to him. Participants in the Youth Mental Health First Aid course watch Hines' story to learn strategies to help young people who may be experiencing a mental health challenge or are in crisis.
"Kevin brings an amazing and powerful depiction of recovery to the course," says Linda Rosenberg, President and CEO of the National Council. "His story will help the thousands of people who train in Youth Mental Health First Aid know what to do when they are called upon to help a young person."
The National Council, together with the states of Maryland and Missouri, adapted Mental Health First Aid for the U.S. in 2008 from the original program created in Australia in 2001. Mental Health First Aid USA has been delivered to approximately 150,000 Americans through a network of 3,000 instructors. Youth Mental Health First Aid launched in late 2012, to teach individuals who interact with youth ages 12-18 how they can help in the event of a mental health challenge or crisis.