Why Learn Mental Health First Aid?

Why Learn Mental Health First Aid?
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An ordinary citizen can be trained in mental health first aid and can help a person suffering from it. A trained person will help to rehabilitate the affected person.

Mental health is a major issue that requires adequate attention from all and sundry. It cannot be ignored as with growing urbanization many are suffering. Efforts are made to find ways and means to deal with the issue and mental health first aid becomes essential. Patients and others who are interested in the well-being of the patient need to be trained well in mental health first aid.

3d male figure with pixelated brain depicting mental health problems 1048 6468 - Why Learn Mental Health First Aid?

For example, sexual abuse survivors do find strength and dignity through fashion.

Struggling students do prefer to learn to read and thank the volunteer tutors from their community.

One in five adults in the US does live with a mental health problem according to the National Institute of Mental Health, but most do not seek out professional help. That is why mental health first aid becomes important.

The class trains citizens to recognize the signs and symptoms of various mental illnesses — from depression to anxiety disorder as well as substance abuse disorder.

Participants also learn to be good listeners and be non- judgmentally and to be able to de-escalate crisis situations.

One needs to know what to say and how to say to a patient. This is what is taught in mental health first aid programs.

The program began in the United States 12 years ago and has gained much popularity among teachers, paramedics, human resource managers, clergy and ordinary citizens as well.
Mental health first aid training is for everybody.

It does not replace professional therapy. Several people affected by mental health problems do not seek help.

A lot of companies, HR managers, churches and pastors are also much excited by the program.

What does mental health first aid involve?

People are trained in learning the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.

The instructors do point out some signs and symptoms for each mental health issue.

For depression, the physical signs usually include lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, overeating or loss of appetite, headaches, unexplained aches and pains. The behavioral signs involve crying spells, withdrawal from others, and loss of motivation and of course slow movement.

A person affected by mental health lacks in upkeep. There is a decline in their hygiene that indicates something is wrong with the person.

One is taught how to calm a person going through a panic attack by asking the person to focus on a particular color or sound in order to calm their racing thoughts. By focusing on the five senses, it tends to make them focus attention on something other than what they are panicked about.

It is not that the average citizen is being trained to be a professional. The person is being taught how to be an empathetic friend, family member or coworker.

One needs to listen non-judgmentally and must not offer advice.

One needs to listen, not interrupt, and really try to hear what they are saying without judgment. That makes the person really feel heard as well as safe.

They need to talk. Our judgment must not decide their thought process.
If it does they may not talk. One must provide information, reassurance and be encouraging. One needs to get them involved in decision-making skills, in counseling now and taking antidepressants.
Thus mental health can be helped by ordinary citizens through first aid training.

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About the Author: Nagendra Gadamsetty

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