North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Free mental health training in M'ville


Parents or those who work with children can learn the signs of mental health problems at free youth mental health classes provided in Marysville and Tulalip.

Classes were provided last year and returned again this year. A number of classes are available from February to June, with the next being on Feb. 17 at the Tulalip Tribes Administrative Building.

The eight-hour course is meant to give “a real understanding of youth mental health issues for the community at large,” said Natalie Gustafson, a student assistance professional at Cedarcrest Middle School, who has helped teach a couple of the courses in the past.

“This is training to look for the signs and symptoms of mental health problems in youth,” said Gustafson.

“And if you see those signs you will learn where you can direct kids where to go next or what you should do next so they can get help,” she said.

Although it is not a comprehensive course, the classes are meant to give an introduction for someone who is looking for the basics of emotional wellbeing for youth.

“You can’t become a counselor in one day, but you can learn how to look for these behaviors and emotions,” said Gustafson.

The courses are not limited to parents. “Anyone can participate,” added Gustafson.

“It can be any member of the community, whether it's parents or someone who works with youth, like a coach or in some other volunteer capacity,” she said.

The classes often receive positive feedback from the community members who choose to participate, said Gustafson.

In addition, they are often “small enough so that participants can talk about their own concerns,” and each person can understand the best ways to look out for children in their roles.

The training has been provided to many of the local staff at the Marysville School District already.

“We have had lots of teachers and school staff trained in these issues so they can identify problems if they see them as well,” said Gustafson.

A federal grant pays for the program. “The grant provides additional mental health and substance abuse support,” said Gustafson, and comes from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) program, which is meant to improve mental health services and access to those services for Washington state children.

Several of the courses were offered last year and they have continued this year.

A Feb. 17 course at the Tulalip Tribes Administrative Building is the next class offered, followed by classes on April 15, May 13, June 20 and June 21 at the Marysville School District’s board room.

An additional April or May date may be added somewhere in Tulalip, said Gustafson.

To register, go to and go to their Workshop and Classes registration, Prevention classes, and look for the free “Youth Mental Health First Aid Training” classes.

To get on a contact list for a class you can also e-mail


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