Addressing Youth Mental Health Challenges

  • On-Demand Webinar
  • Recorded on Thursday, June 24, 2021
  • 2 hour training
  • FREE for YIPA members
  • 97% approval rating
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Learners' Own Words

"Excellent! Helpful and very practical!"

"Chris' lived experiences really brought home the topic."

"The handouts will be quite useful in my work with early ages and adolescent youth."

Your Training Description

Please note trigger warning: This training includes language and descriptions of abuse, sexual assault, trauma, drug/alcohol use, metal illness symptoms, and suicide.

It’s very likely that you will work with young people that could develop mental health challenges. So, it’s critical that you understand the differences between mental health and mental illness. Learn how to be an objective listener and provide non-judgmental support for young people with mental health challenges. Gain confidence in your ability to support youth facing mental health challenges. You’ll explore the mindset needed to recognize and respond to a young person experiencing a mental health crisis.

Your Learning Objectives

  • Learn the differences between mental health and mental illness
  • Know how to recognize whether a young person is feeling anxious or is experiencing an anxiety disorder
  • Recognize the difference between sadness and depression in a young person
  • Know the signs and symptoms to watch for in young people experiencing a mental health crisis
  • Gain confidence to provide initial support and resources to young people experiencing a mental health crisis

Your Trainer

Image of Chris Shaw, Trainer for Addressing Youth Mental Health Challenges

Christopher Shaw, CPSS, CFPS, CPRS, grew up in NYC and migrated to Stillwater, MN as a teenager. The lingering effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) brought the onset of his struggle with mental illness and substance use disorders. Chris is a Navy veteran, attended UW-River Falls for a BA in English and toured as a musician for several years, before embarking on a career as a stand-up comedian. His 25+ year career included performing for tens of thousands of people, both live and on numerous TV appearances. Yet all the while he struggled with undiagnosed mental illness and worsening substance use issues. With the lows of two failed marriages, isolation from his children, an out-of-control lifestyle, and recurrent DUI arrests, it all culminated in a near-fatal suicide attempt in 2015.

As a result, Chris entered treatment at the Minneapolis VA Hospital. He was so moved by the role his Peer Support Specialist played in his recovery, he vowed to become a CPSS himself. In 2019, he was a part of the state’s pilot training program for Certified Family Peer Specialists. In 2020, Chris was also certified to provide Peer Recovery Support.

Today, Chris is the Executive Director of The Heart and Mind Connection. He works to expand a vision of the hope for recovery that can come from those who share a lived experience with mental illness and substance use challenges, both adults and children. As an advocate, speaker, trainer, and facilitator, he is combining his gift of humor, and his commitment to combat stigma and end suicide by sharing his own story and across the country.

Please note: If you'd like to reach out to the trainer or the organization, we're sad to inform you the organization has dissolved since recording this training so the contacts are no longer valid. If you're looking for mental health support, please reach out to your local NAMI chapter.

Your Competency Focus Area


Each of YIPA’s trainings are designed around a broad framework of eight youth work competencies. The competency focus of this training is: MENTAL HEALTH BASICS.

Build your understanding of prevalent mental health issues among youth today, learn how to connect youth with appropriate mental health resources, and practice good self-care strategies.

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This training will count as 2 CE hours for most boards. Please contact your board directly with questions on submitting. You are encouraged to print or save this training information as a PDF for your records.