Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, health and human service workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health challenge or crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. 

The course covers common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. It also expands on issues such as trauma, self-care, and the impact of social media and bullying.

The course is six hours of in-person instruction and two hours of pre-work. More than 3 million people across the United States have been trained in MHFA by thousands of certified Instructors. The program is offered by Maya Gold Foundation trainers certified by the National Council for Mental Well Being.


  • Common signs and symptoms of mental health challenges.  
  • Common signs and symptoms of substance use challenges.  
  • How to interact with a person in crisis. 
  • How to connect a person with help.  
  • Expanded content on trauma, substance use and self-care.

Mathew Swerdloff is the lead instructor for this training program. As an educator in New York State’s public schools for over thirty years, he has held positions as a classroom teacher in grades 3 through 8 and various school district administrative roles.  He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the State University of New York in New Paltz. Mathew earned his Master’s Degree in Education and his New York School District Administrator Certification from the State University of New York at New Paltz, and his Doctorate from Western Connecticut State University. Mathew is the co-founder and Board President of the Maya Gold Foundation, Maya’s father, and is passionate about the work of supporting teens in the Hudson Valley.

This effort is being funded by the generous support of HealthAlliance Hospitals and the Westchester Medical Center Health Network. 

For more information and to schedule a training, contact us here or at info@mayagoldfoundation.org.

Youth Mental Health First Aid


SUNY New Paltz Faculty and Staff YMHFA Graduates
YMHFA Graduates at Ellenville Public Library
YMHFA Graduates from Cornell Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Staff
SUNY New Paltz Faculty Youth Mental Health First Aid Graduates
SUNY New Paltz Education Students YMHFA Graduates