You have probably heard of First Aid training, where you will learn how to take care of injuries, perform CPR, and more. Mental Health first aid courses can be just as important as any courses out there.
Why is Mental Health First Aid Important?
Like physical injuries, mental health issues can have serious health effects if left untreated. Some mental illnesses can cause lasting harm and may even lead to one’s death. Unfortunately, these mental illnesses do not always present physical symptoms. Hence, it is not always easy to identify someone who may be struggling with poor mental health.
A mental health first aid course is a training program that aims to teach students how to identify warning signs of mental illnesses. During the training, you will learn how to recognise a mental health crisis, provide first aid support, and help with the resources for long-term care.
Here are other things you will learn in a mental health first aid course.
Gain a better understanding of different mental illness
Learn the common risk factors and warning signs of mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more.
The first step in mental wellness is to recognise the signs to know when it is time to seek help. Only medical professionals can diagnose mental illness; however, you can be trained in observing changes in a person’s mood, behaviour, habits, and personality. All these changes may be a sign of developing mental health problems.
Know how to de-escalate a mental crisis
Handling a mental health crisis requires skills and calmness. It can be challenging to help someone experiencing panic and anxiety attacks, hallucinations, or other psychotic symptoms.
Mental health first aid training will develop your communication skills, verbal and nonverbal skills such as body language. Knowing how to communicate properly can make all the difference in handling a mental crisis. You will know how to act with reassurance and respect that you will learn in role-play activities during training.
Common signs and symptoms of mental illness
The training instructor will point out common signs and symptoms for each mental issue discussed. For example, depression signs include lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, loss of appetite, headaches, and lack of interest in everything.
Some behavioural signs of mental illness are crying spells, social withdrawal, loss of motivation,
Learn coping techniques
Self-care and coping techniques play a huge role in stress management. These techniques will help those who experience mental challenges regularly to increase resilience and promote calmness. Using these techniques can address the symptoms before they become overwhelming.
Practice life-saving acronym – ALGEE
A big takeaway from the training course is learning the first-aid procedure ALGEE. The acronym ALGEE serves as a road map on how to respond when someone is truly struggling.
A – assess for risk of harm or suicide
L – listen non-judgmentally
G – give information and reassurance
E – encourage professional help (if needed)
E – encourage self-help
ALGEE action plan is a step-by-step procedure recommended by MHFA when providing support to someone who may be in mental distress. This action plan is similar to administering first aid techniques such as RICE, DRSABCD, etc.
With nearly one in five adults in Australia experiencing mental health problems, knowing how to handle a crisis is more vital than ever.
To address this growing problem, the Mental Health First Aid course is designed to teach students valuable topics to help individuals who are struggling with their mental health. Recognise signs of mental illness, offer first aid help, and connect to appropriate professional and self-help care services.