Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that can help individuals across the community to understand mental illnesses, support timely intervention, and save lives.
Why Mental Health First Aid?
One in five Americans has a mental illness and many are reluctant to seek help or might not know where to turn for care. The symptoms of mental illness can be difficult to detect even when friends and family of someone who appears to be developing a mental illness can tell that something is amiss, they may not know how to intervene or direct the person to proper treatment which means that all too often, those in need of mental health services do not get them until it is too late. As a society, we largely remain ignorant about the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses, and we ignore our role as responsible community members to help people experiencing these illnesses.
What is Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health concerns, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. The course uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect persons to professional, peer and social supports as well as self-help resources.
Mental Health First Aid allows for early detection and intervention by teaching participants about the signs and symptoms of specific illnesses like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and addictions. The program offers concrete tools and answers key questions like “What can I do?” and “Where can someone find help?” Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups, and online tools for mental health and addictions treatment and support.
What You Learn
Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.
- Depression and mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Substance Use disorders
Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resiliency the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better, and use their strengths to stay well.
Mental Health First Aid USA is operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health.
National Website: https://www.thenationalcouncil.org/about/mental-health-first-aid/
Website for Courses in Mississippi: http://www.belhaven.edu/careandcounsel/mental-health-first-aid.htm