Many people affirm that their journey toward mental health recovery has not been a straight, steady road. There are new discoveries, setbacks and a lot of ups and downs. The journey to full recovery takes time, but with Mental Health First Aid, there can be positive changes along the way.
Mental Health First Aid is a set of tools developed by MHFA Australia to help a person who may be developing a mental health problem or experiencing the worsening of an existing mental illness. The founders of MHFA has a mission – to provide high quality, evidence-based mental health first aid education to everyone.
There are several mental health first aid skills that can be learned by anyone in the community. In a standard MHFA Course, a person can learn the risk factors and warning signs of different mental problems.
To help you better manage and prevent mental illnesses, here are four components we include in our mental health first aid courses.
1. Sense of Safety
The feeling of safety is the center of health and wellbeing, therefore it’s the first thing we established during a mental health first aid class. When a person feels safe, they find it easier to relax and focus on the things that help ensure their stability.
We reinforce safety with an appropriate approach and showing the things we’ve done to make the scene safe. We also find a suitable time and space where they will feel utmost comfortable sharing their struggles and other concerns.
2. No judgment listening
Most of the time, a person with a mental health problem just want to be listened to, without criticism, and without judgment. If you want to support what another person expresses to you, sincerely listen to them and take an interest in their well-being.
3. Creating Connections
We create a connection by building an on-scene relationship with our students. This include connecting them to their family, friends, and others.
People suffering from mental health problem can greatly benefit from knowing that they are not alone in their daily struggles, their triggers, their ups, and downs. Having a support system in place can give them access to new ways of coping, as well as emotional validation.
4. Reassurance and Information
To build hope and give reassurance is a goal in every MHFA class. These two are the cornerstone upon which the entire recovery foundation is built. We encourage a culture of hope and reassurance by communicating a realistic and predictable step towards recovery.
A person suffering from poor mental health will have a better recovery with appropriate professional help. Aside from creating hope, we provide the students with the various options that are available to improve their mental condition such as self-help strategies, medications, or counseling.
Anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other mental illnesses are interlaced with judgment, lack of support and feeling unworthy. These feelings are only perpetuated further by the stigma that is still present today.
If we spent more time supporting and looking out for one another, rather than judging, perhaps the mental health status in Australia could change. With this in mind, we actively encourage everyone to start opening about their struggles and mental health condition.
We have the power to take positive steps to improve your resilience and mental health. We must change the dialogue and attitude towards mental illness, and it all starts with us.
For First Aid Courses, please click here.