Type of Entry: Training
Name: Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM)
Date added: 12 January 2021
Delivery type: Face to face
Owned by: Mental Health in Mind International AB
Cost: Yes
Target audience: Secondary School students (age 11-15)
Core Elements

Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) is a mental health promotion programme that encourages young people to work together to consider and address mental health challenges they face in a reflective and interactive way. 

Key Outcomes:

YAM enables students to:

  1. Discuss mental health issues in a safe environment
  2. Offer emotional support to others
  3. Recognise the symptoms of depression and suicidality
  4. Engage in help-seeking behaviours and access resources where they can get help
  5. Feel empowered as experts on their own mental health
  6. Consider different approaches when faced with life challenges

Methods YAM use to facilitate sessions:

  • Role play scenarios
  • Open discussions and reflections
  • Exercises led by experiences and topics raised
  • Emphasis on peer support
  • Support and facilitation by trained instructors

For more information, please read the information sheet linked at the bottom of this page.

Length of Training

Five 1 hour sessions.  These are typically delivered over 3 weeks.

Supporting Rationale

Poor mental health and suicidal behaviours in young people are a major public health problem worldwide. YAM was developed in response to this call, offering an adaptable evidence-based mental health promotion programme aiming to support young people to develop skills to improve the mental health of themselves and others, as well as prevent the incidence of suicide.   

Please refer to the references listed below for more detail.

Training Evaluation

YAM was evaluated in EU-wide Randomised Controlled Trial in which more than 11,000 youth participated. The Saving and Empowering Young Lives in Europe (SEYLE) research project sought to evaluate three school-based interventions for mental health promotion and suicide prevention. Results found YAM to be effective in reducing new cases of suicide attempts and severe suicidal ideation by approximately 50%. New cases of depression were reduced by approximately 30% in the youth participating in YAM (Wasserman et al., 2015).

Interviews conducted following participation in YAM found that young people felt more confident in support a friend in need and could identify strategies they learnt in YAM that they used later in difficult real life situations (Wasserman et al., 2018).

A recent study evaluating YAM also found that despite there being individual differences in which coping strategy is used by young people to manage their emotions, the benefits of YAM were evident over and above them (Khan et al., 2020). 


Kahn et al., (2020). Influence of coping strategies on the efficacy of YAM (Youth Aware of Mental Health): a universal school-based suicide preventive program. European Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 29, 1671-1681.

Wasserman et al. (2015). School-based suicide prevention programmes: the SEYLE cluster-randomised control trial. Lancet, 385(9977), 1536-44.

Wasserman et al. (2018). Interactions between youth and mental health professionals: The Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) program experience. PLoS One, 13(2), e0191843.


Black Dog Institute (Australia)

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The Suicide Prevention Hub (Australia) holds the YAM training on the Best Practice Register under Evidence Based Programs.

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Additional information

To find out more about the YAM training, download the the YAM information sheet.

The aim of the ZSA Resources is to introduce users to a range of existing and new resources with a connection to supporting people with their mental health, bring awareness to and help prevent incidences of suicide.  The ZSA do not endorse individual resources but instead aim to present standardised information to enable the user to make an informed decision over its use.

This resource content was developed and approved in collaboration with the resource owner. If you would like to update this content, please contact us.

For more information on ZSA Resources, please refer to ZSA Policies.

Content last updated: 02/11/2022.