UPPER Hunter residents can receive free Youth Mental Health First Aid training next month, facilitated by Where There's a Will (WTAW) and funded by Malabar Coal.
The course - on August 1 and 2 at the Muswellbrook RSL Club - is open to anyone, including parents, sports coaches, teachers and youth workers from the region.
After completion, participants will be officially accredited in Youth Mental Health First Aid.
The program is usually $500 per person however, with Malabar Coal's support, it will be free.
"With schools now well and truly immersed in initiatives to improve the wellbeing of students, the WTAW Foundation is now switching focus to parents and providing opportunities that will help tighten the safety net around children when it comes to mental health in the Upper Hunter," WTAW chair Jane Callinan said.
"One in four young Australians aged 16-24 years has a mental health issue.
"Coronavirus (COVID-19) and social distancing measures have made life more challenging for these young people, too.
"So, it is critical our community is trained to care, respond and make a positive difference if a mental health problem emerges in someone we know."
Where There's a Will is a not-for-profit organisation committed to cultural change in the Upper Hunter through improved literacy of wellbeing and mental health in schools, families and community.
In 2019, WTAW trained more than 650 students from five Upper Hunter high schools in Teen Mental Health First Aid as well as 372 adults from across the community.
"Malabar is delighted to partner with Where There's a Will, an organisation that is helping young people develop skills and tools to help them flourish in life, build resilience and improve the overall wellbeing of our community," Malabar's manager of health, safety, environment and community Donna McLaughlin said.
"I'd encourage every person who is interested to RSVP so that they can contribute to maintaining good mental health for our community."
The sessions on August 1 and 2 compliment the Teen Mental Health First Aid training that WTAW is helping to deliver to every student in Year 8 and Year 10 at high schools across the Upper Hunter.
RSVP is essential to secure your booking and numbers are limited.
To RSVP, go to https://muswellbrookymhfa.app.rsvpify.com/