Livermore High School has joined an international program to train students to recognize and respond to the early stages of mental illness and addiction. We applaud the effort. The program, called teen Mental Health First Aid, started in Australia two decades ago. It has since spread around the world. At Livermore High, more than 460 LHS sophomores will be trained “to recognize and respond when their friends are experiencing the early stages of a mental health or addiction problem,” according to Principal Helen Gladden.
The seriousness of the problem is hard to overstate. Mental illness strikes one in six American youths aged 6-17, with long-lasting ripple effects like increased unemployment and substance abuse and high suicide rates. It can even affect cardiovascular health.
Gladden described herself as “thrilled” to introduce the program to the community. We are thrilled alongside her. There is no simple solution to mental illness, but Livermore High is on the right track with a program that can help now and in the future.