Free clinic helps community learn about youth mental health concerns

HENRICO, Va. (WWBT) – At the Virginia Home for Boys and Girls, mental health has become a top priority.

President and CEO Claiborne Warner wants people to be as aware of the mental health of youth as they are of regular first way.

“We really want to give people the tools they need to understand how to address a child or a young person who has a potential for a mental health crisis,” Warner said.

The staff is trained in trauma care and mental health and is now offering a clinic on mental health free to the public.

“I want folks to know that they don’t have to be a therapist to be therapeutic,” said Karen Rice, clinical director for the Center of Therapeutic Resources. “That is one of the mantras that I’ve come up with. It’s so very important for people to learn. There are some very simple, basic things they can say or do that would make a huge impact with a youth.”

She says little things – like making eye contact and listening to kids – make all the difference.

Rice says mental health first aid is all about giving people facts and tips that allow people to reach out to someone and make a positive difference.

“I want people to trust their gut,” Rice said. “And when something seems off and there’s a dramatic change, investigate that and know how to investigate that.”

Click here for more information on the clinic.

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