SHREWSBURY, Mass. - Rep. Jim McGovern stopped by Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services on Friday to announce $250,000 in federal funding for the organization's mental health first aid training courses.

The courses can help trainees spot early signs of mental health or substance abuse challenges, and they're also taught how to intervene in crisis and non-crisis situations. 

Some courses are designed for people working in public safety or education, while others help teach how to support youth, adults and the elderly. The funding will help keep up with an increased demand for the courses.

"Prior to the pandemic, we were probably 85% older teens," said the center's executive director Christine Mowry. "I would say we're probably about 45% 12 and under now, so we're seeing a lot of young kids with suicidal ideation."

"Our young people especially are struggling with anxiety and all kinds of other issues and there's a way to deal with that, and if you don't deal with that, things get out of control," McGovern said. "This is vital."

Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services helps more than 700 families a year. 40% typically fall within the low to no income range.