Nowadays we have seen that mental health issues are increasing tremendously. Pandemic ,Work from Home, going back to office, work pressure, Lifestyle, very less communication between the family members and many more reasons are behind this. Stress, Anxiety, Panic attacks, Depression are the most common mental health issues. But many people are not aware about Mental Health First Aid. 

What Is Mental Health First Aid?

Why Mental Health First Aid is Important/

Mental health first aid helps you to recognize the signs of mental health issues, offer initial help and connect individuals to the professionals, self-care services.

What Is Mental Health First Aid And Why It Is Important?

We all know that if someone is having a heart attack we would start CPR or call an ambulance but people don’t know what to do when someone is having a panic attack. Just CPR helps assist an individual in heart attack, Mental First Aid  Training helps you assist someone suffering mental health issues.

Mental health first aid is the help you give to people who are developing a mental health problem, experiencing a worsening  mental health problem, or going through a mental health crisis. You can do this first aid until the person has received appropriate professional treatment or the attack has resolved.

Mental health first aid can help people who are experiencing:

  • depression
  • anxiety problems
  • psychosis
  • substance
  • use problems
  • eating disorders
  • gambling problems.

It can also help if a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, such as:

  • suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • non-suicidal self-injury (sometimes called deliberate self-harm)
  • panic attacks
  • traumatic events
  • severe psychotic states
  • severe effects from alcohol or other drug use
  • aggressive behaviors.

Why is it important?

Mental health problems are common. 

Mental health issues have been stigmatized. Negative attitudes and behaviors towards mental illness and treatment can help people try to hide their problems and avoid getting the help they need. 

Many do not have enough information. Some individuals may not know how to recognize mental health problems, how to deal with them, or what effective treatments are available.  

Professional help is not always at hand. If these resources are not available,  the general public can immediately provide first aid and help them find the right help and support.

Few know how to react but still it can’t be sufficient sometimes.

 People with mental health problems may not seek help. These people may not realize that they need help or may not know that effective help is available.

How to use mental health first-aid?

Know the signs

The first step is knowing the signs and symptoms of mental health problems so you know when  to get help. 

 Only a trained professional can diagnose someone with a mental illness, but you can be on the lookout for changes in a person’s mood, behavior, energy, habits, or personality. These changes could be a sign of a mental health problem. 

Some symptoms that could indicate a serious problem include:

  •  unusual thinking
  • extreme mood changes
  • restless, agitated and disorganized behavior
  • marked decrease in activity
  • difficulty concentrating
  • significant drop in performance at work or school
  • significant withdrawal from friends and family
  • neglecting self-care (such as neglecting personal appearance and hygiene, and eating poorly)
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • non-suicidal self-injury (deliberate self-harm)
  • destructive or high-risk behavior
  • confusion and disorientation
  • emotional outbursts
  • sleep problems
  • weight or appetite changes
  • being quiet or withdrawn
  • substance use problems
  • feelings of guilt or worthlessness

changes in behavior or feelings that have lasted for longer than two weeks.

Having one or two of these symptoms usually doesn’t indicate a mental illness, but if a person is exhibiting several symptoms, they may need some professional help (particularly if the symptoms have lasted for some weeks or they’re interfering with usual activities, such as work, school or relationships). 

How to deal with the person who is suffering?

Give the person a chance to talk to you. If they don’t open up to you themselves, take the initiative to start the conversation.                           

  • Make sure you approach the person in a comfortable space and when he /she is talking you will not interrupt him or her.
  • Speak from your own perspective. Use ‘I’ statements, such as ‘I have noticed…’ and ‘I feel concerned about…’ rather than ‘you’ statements, such as ‘You seem to be withdrawn…’ or ‘You’re not eating and sleeping…’.
  • Say you’re concerned and you’re here to help. 
  • Respect the person’s own interpretation of their symptoms.
  • If the person doesn’t want to talk to you, encourage them to talk to someone else they trust. 
  • Show the person dignity and respect.
  • Don’t blame.
  • Be consistent in your emotional support and understanding.
  • Encourage the person to talk to you or someone else.
  • Listen well. 
  • Give the person hope for their recovery.

How to improve your knowledge about mental health first aid

You can visit the website of Mental Health First Aid India. Many courses are available there.

Why is it important to have a Mental Health First Aid Expert in every organization?

Would you know what to do if one of your coworkers had a mental health problem? Mental health can be a taboo subject, but professional assistance is not always readily available to those in need. 

By training to be a mental health first responder, you will be able to provide comfort and support in the event of a crisis until help arrives.

Most people believe that mental health issues are more frightening than they are. When a person is suffering from a mental illness, what they require most is someone who can:

calmly listen to their feelings and fears and provide some basic information to tell them where they can get appropriate assistance.

Mental Health First Aid is an initial response to distress until appropriate or professional help can be obtained.

By enjoying a few mental health awareness activities you can easily understand your mental health status.

Conclusion:- Mental health issues are increasing tremendously. Mental health first aid helps you to recognize the signs of mental health issues, offer initial help and connect individuals to professionals, and self-care services. That’s why mental health awareness and mental health first aid training is very important.