Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso staff now certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid

May 17, 2022

As part of National Mental Health Awareness month, we recognize the work of Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso (BBBS) in their efforts to improve the mental health of the community.

Through a grant from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation’s Think.Change Initiative, Big Brothers Big Sisters of El Paso is educating our community about the myths and facts surrounding youth mental health and emotional well-being. BBBS of El Paso staff is now certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid and available to provide training for mentors, parents, guardians, board members, community partners and others in the El Paso region.

Research shows that more than 10 percent of youth will be diagnosed with a substance use disorder in their lifetime. 1 in 5 teens and young adults live with a mental health condition. Fifty percent of all mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 75 percent by the mid-20s. BBBS seeks to help the community address these youth mental health concerns, help enhance mental health awareness and reduce stigma and negative bias. Youth Mental Health First Aid is a beneficial program for teachers, school staff, coaches, camp counselors, youth group leaders, parents, and adults who work with youth. It is designed to teach caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and how to connect the youth with help.

For more information or to sign up for a training, contact: Bobbi Jo Ortiz at

PDNHF Initiative: Mental Health & Emotional Well-Being

Develop, lead, and invest in partnerships, organizations, programs, and communications to promote emotional well-being, reduce stigma and negative bias, and improve access, ease of navigation, and continuity of care for mental and behavioral health services.

View Strategy Brief (English)

View Strategy Brief (Español)

Foundation Staff: Sandra Day

Mental Health & Emotional Well-Being

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