Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainings a Success


May 11, 2022
Matthew Perry
Communications Specialist
1-800-952-7403 x240

The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) has partnered with Walker Cares to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid to library staff.  Since April 2021, there have been 191 attendees in 15 classes on YMHFA funded through federal CARES ACT and ARPA funds.

Youth Mental Health First Aid helps adults who work with youth to recognize, support, and refer youth who may be experiencing mental health challenges or may be in crisis, for professional mental health services. It gives individuals who work with youth the skills they need to provide initial support to adolescents (ages 12-18) and help connect them to the appropriate care. The trainings cover signs and symptoms of mental illness in this age group including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and signs of substance abuse.

The sessions have been a success, with 89% of attendees responding that they learned something from the training, and 88% saying they intend to apply what they learned in the training.

“I feel much more prepared to broach the topic of mental health with young people in my library, and to respond to potential crisis situations, after taking the course,” said one attendee about the training, with another librarian adding “In the following couple of weeks, I had several conversations initiated by teens where they shared some of their mental health struggles this year and I felt much more equipped to respond compassionately and constructively than I would have previously.”

The trainings are one of the many ways the MBLC is using federal CARES Act and ARPA funding to support local libraries and communities. The MBLC has used CARES Act funds for school eContent, and statewide eContent and ARPA funding for the statewide hotspot program. Learn more about how the MBLC is using federal funding in Massachusetts on the MBLC website.

About MBLC

The Board of Library Commissioners ( is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.