UY offers Youth Mental Health First Aid training for students and community members!

Graduate student, Anisa Abdulahi and UY Director Patti Neiman are training current UY students and non-profit local community members so that they will be better prepared to support young people!

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. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces 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. For more information contact:

Graduate Interns, Sina Tikabo (f’21), Zenab Tiamiyu (f’21), Anisa Abdulahi (f’21-sp’22)

Community Health Initiative (CHI) Graduate Student Intern, Anisa: #Take5 for Mental Health


Hi, my name is Anisa Abdulahi! I am a second year doctorate of occupational therapy student at the University of Minnesota. I have been with the UY for more than a few years now and am grateful to be part of a transformative community working to improve the lives of those they serve. I received my Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and have been interested in holistic wellness but more specifically on mental wellbeing. Currently in graduate school, I want to pursue the mental health population. I have not yet decided the specifics, but I know that I want to work with the BIPOC community. I have seen and learned about many of the discriminations and inequalities these communities face and want to bring change to better the lives of the individuals who need it most. 

This summer, I am grateful to be a CHI intern working to implement a model for #Take5. My goal with the program is to educate young people on reducing stigma and dispelling myths surrounding mental health. Not only will #Take5 help educate, but it will also promote a better understanding of emotional mental health by providing accurate information and accessible resources for youth. Furthermore, the plan is to create a training model, guidebook, and train college students to carry out the role of being a mentor supporting their communities through focus groups and workshops. I cannot wait to see where the program takes us this upcoming fall! 

Community Health Initiative (CHI) Graduate Student Intern, Sina: Bug Off Flu pilot

Sina Tikabo

Hello! My name is Sina Tikabo! I’m a proud Seattle native and I’m currently a second year graduate student at the University of Minnesota studying Public Health Policy and Administration. The UY has an important and unique role serving not only as a resource for university students on campus, but also provides them with an opportunity to give back to the greater community. This project is important to me because especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all seen the importance of educating and creating awareness about the importance of vaccines to help save lives.

It’s my hope that this project encourages individuals from communities like my own to incorporate the flu vaccine as a yearly tradition that they might have overlooked before, to ensure that we’re able to deter the spread of the flu and thus save lives. Working towards equity via a Public Health lens to me looks like providing communities with the tools necessary to live healthy and happy lives. In understanding that Public Health is about improving health across entire populations, working towards equity is important to ensure that each individual has access to what they need to live a healthy life.

Graduate Student Intern, Zenab: Bug Off Flu pilot


Hi! My name is Zenab Tiamiyu; I'm currently a graduate student at the U of M getting my MPH in Maternal and Child Health w/ a minor in Epidemiology. My goal is to pursue medicine, combine it with Public Health, and work towards bettering the health of children and adolescents! 

The UY has been a great place to make connections, allowed me to grow in my passion, and the staff's support is amazing. Prevention and education are two aspects of health I am really passionate about, so working on this project has allowed me the opportunity to tie my passion and find ways to serve underserved communities. 

Working towards equity via a Public Health lens is having that firm conviction that health truly is a human right. We don't get to choose who we are or where we come from. We also don't get to choose if and when we get sick or what we get sick with. Therefore, we shouldn't get denied or have limited access to meet our needs because of that. Public Health helps us understand the problem, who it is affecting, and then develop solutions on how to fix it so that no one is at a disadvantage in improving their health because of these various factors."

Partnership with the U of M Community Health Initiative

The University YMCA is fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with the CHI program this summer, it’s our second time in the past four years and we are excited! The Community Health Initiative (CHI) is a unique effort that focuses directly on communities that face public health disparities and other socio-economic issues. This initiative is a direct result of a partnership between Medica and the University of Minnesota's Office for Business & Community Economic Development. CHI’s focus is on advancing health care in our communities, a perfect fit for the UY graduate students who are dedicated to identifying and creating positive health care and access to young people and families in our Twin Cities community!