Thriving Youth

  • children's hands

Promoting Positive Youth Development


Positive Youth Development utilizes resources within the home, school, and community to engage youth in an environment that prioritizes mental wellness as an integral part of identifying their personal goals as well as their social impact. With half of all lifelong mental illnesses beginning by age 14, Extension provides outreach, education, and programming specific to mental illness by demystifying the topic, promoting strategies for wellness, and connecting youth, and their adult caregivers, with essential resources.

Social, Emotional and Mindful Learning (SEML) is a researched and evidenced-based practice that is an integral part of the Positive Youth Development Model. SEML provides opportunities for youth to learn ways to identify, understand, and manage their emotions, establish healthy relationships, and demonstrate empathy for others. All of which leads to increased awareness as well as skill development, both of which help youth navigate and respond to stress, trauma, and peer relations.


Programs and Curriculums We Recommend

Some are delivered by UNH staff and others are not. 

Incorporates the Essential Elements of youth development: belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. Through 4-H Mindful Mechanics, teens are encouraged to build positive relationships through expressing care, concern and gratitude for others (belonging), build beliefs in oneself (mastery), practice self-discipline, self-control, and self-reflection (independence), and serve others.

  • Age: 13+
  • Cost: $40 plus $10 per journal (optional)
  • Provided by: Anyone; can train or provide training video to anyone who wants to deliver
  • Contact: Kendra Lewis

Introduces youth members to basic concepts in mindfulness practices. The program promotes mindful practices that lead to improvements in managing one’s own goals, developing a sense of self, time management, stress management, emotional regulation, and mindful eating practices. Specific outcomes from youth participation in the curriculum include short-term (skill development and knowledge gain), mid-term (increased stress management, mindful eating, etc.), and long-term (improved physical, emotional, and social health) benefits.

  • Age: 5-8
  • Cost: $40 plus supplies; Kendra & Kristin can loan books. Many supplies places already have
  • Provided by: Anyone; can train or provide training video to anyone who wants to deliver
  • Contact: Kendra Lewis

SEL program focused on building courage, gratitude, forgiveness, and compassion

  • Age: Grades K-12,Home, School, Work Curricula
  • Cost: Free
  • Provided by: Anyone
  • Contact: Shannon DeSilets

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis.

  • Age: Adults; to learn about youth ages 12-18
  • Cost: Free (using grant funds)
  • Provided by: UNH Extension (Melissa, Sue, Kristin, Laura) or potentially others
  • Contact: Sue Meattey

Mental Health First Aid for Adults teaches people how to recognize signs of mental health or substance use challenges in adults ages 18 and older, how to offer and provide initial help, and how to guide a person toward appropriate care if necessary. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, psychosis, and addictions.

  • Age: Adults; to learn about youth ages 12-18
  • Cost: Free (using grant funds)
  • Delivered by: UNH Extension(Melissa, Sue) or potentially others
  • Contact: Sue Meattey

teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) teaches teens in grades 10-12, or ages 15-18, how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among their friends and peers.

  • Age: Adults; to learn about youth ages 12-18
  • Cost: Free (using grant funds)
  • Provided by: UNH Extension(Kristin) or potentially others
  • Contact: Sue Meattey

The AFSP-produced film It’s Real: College Students and Mental Health is designed to raise awareness about mental health issues commonly experienced by students, and is intended to be used as part of a school’s educational program to encourage help-seeking.

Intended for high school classes or community settings with groups of teens, ages from 14 to 18, It’s Real: Teens and Mental Health is a 45-minute program that provides young people with mental health education and resources. The program raises awareness about mental health issues, how to start a conversation about mental health, the importance of self-care, and how to reach out for help.

  • Age: 14-18
  • Cost: Free
  • Provided by: UNH Extension
  • Contact: Kristin Eberl

More Than Sad: Teen Depression is an approximately 75-minute program that teaches teens to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and others; challenges existing stigma surrounding depression; and demystifies the treatment process. This program focuses on high school students.

Talk Saves Lives is AFSP’s standardized, 45-60 minute education program that provides participants with a clear understanding of this leading cause of death, including the most up-to-date research on suicide prevention, and what they can do in their communities to save lives.

Gizmo’s Pawesome Guide for Mental Health

Can do with parents & kids together, or get parent permission and do at a library or afterschool prog, school, etc.

Highlights a small dog, Gizmo, who shares a big message for mental health and hope. Gizmo guides the reader through the importance of mental health, how everyone has it, what you can do to take care of it, how to recognize when your mental health needs support, what you can do to help yourself first, and how to connect with trusted adults when you need help from others.

Trains professionals and community members to prevent and respond effectively to suicide across the lifespan. Our public health, socio-ecological model emphasizes collaboration between service providers.  Best practice protocols are provided for each service provider discipline. The training can be customized to meet the needs of a community or organization.

  • Age: Adults
  • Cost: Unsure
  • Provided by: Connect Trainers
  • Contact: NAMI

A story of two children trapped in the darkness of depression, and what it took for them to find their way out.

  • Age: elementary school, but can be used for older
  • Cost: $20 (cost of book)
  • Provided by: Anyone; discussion/study guide available
  • Contact: Irene Buchine

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