“It doesn’t take a special person to save a life… it takes a trained one,” says Michi Marshall, Chief Creative Officer at House of Athlete. “I consider it an honor and a privilege to partner with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and the NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation to broaden the conversations around mental health, enabling those dealing with mental health concerns with the proper tools and trained persons to ensure they are supported and filled with hope.”
As we mark Mental Health Awareness Month and shine a light on the issue, Covenant House is grateful to leaders like Michi and our partners at NFLPA whose commitment to mental health advocacy is year-round. Thank you for inviting Covenant House to be a charity partner and providing us with a grant to support our mental health services throughout the United States including a new Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) pilot. And, most importantly, thank you for standing with our young people, uplifting them and providing us with the means to ease the mental health burdens they carry so that they can tap into their courage and strength and rise to a better tomorrow.
The NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation partners with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing and House of Athlete to administer the Mental Health First Aid training free of charge to NFLPA staff and members. This is the second year the NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation is offering Mental Health First Aid training to NFLPA members.
Tramaine EL-Amin, Chief Experience Officer, Mental Health First Aid at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing shared, “[We are] thrilled to partner with NFLPA’s Professional Athletes Foundation to change the conversation around mental health and substance use challenges—especially among athletes. We are grateful for their support of Mental Health First Aid, as it helps ensure everyone in our community is equipped with the skills to notice when someone is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis and connect them to the appropriate resource.”
The grant from NFLPA has allowed Covenant House the ability to pilot a new Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) program in which we aim to train up to 300 staff at five of our U.S. locations to better assist youth when they’re experiencing a mental health or substance use-related challenge. The training is designed to teach staff how to recognize risk factors and warning signs for mental health and substance use concerns and apply strategies to help youth in both crisis and non-crisis situations. We expect the training will increase the effectiveness of our services to our youth by creating awareness among all staff — not just our mental health professionals — to identify signs of mental health distress and to respond appropriately and immediately to those signs.
To date, we’ve held five Youth Mental Health First Aid training sessions at three of our sites: California, Illinois, and New York. A total of 72 staff have already participated in the sessions. The result, so far, is everything we’d hoped it would be. Staff who already were wrapping our young people in unconditional love and absolute respect tell us that they feel the sessions have increased their knowledge, skills, and confidence and enabled them to better support our youth when they’re going through a mental health or substance use challenge.
Thank you to Michi Marshall, the team at the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, and the NFLPA for your incredible vision and collaboration with all of the partners working to promote mental health awareness and this life-saving training.