WIMMERA Primary Care Partnership is offering first aid courses in Horsham and Edenhope, focusing on youth mental health.
Koolin Balit project officer Felicity Johns said the courses were open to people in the community.
“We encourage parents, teachers, sport coaches and youth workers to take advantage of the opportunity. A lot of people believe you need to working in the space to take the course, but it’s suitable for everyone” she said.
Ms Johns said sport coaches and teachers in particular could have a significant influence on young people. She said children had the ability to mask problems from their parents, whereas teachers and coaches might see the child in a different perspective.
Ms Johns said having the skill to identify risky behaviours was important.
“Fifty per cent of the population have suffered from some form of mental health illness before they turn 18,” she said.
“One risk factor for mental illness is rurality and the fact we are isolated in Western Victoria increases our need to identify symptoms early.
“It isn’t to teach people to become doctors or psychiatrists, but to give them the resources and skills to understand that if someone is showing risky behaviours then there could be an underlying issue.”
Ms Johns said the course provided resources for people to direct young people to the right channels.
She said the course was available in Edenhope at the council chambers on August 23 and in Horsham at the Wimmera Development Association on September 21.
She said people wanting to register their interest for the courses could send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org