Let’s talk about Mental Health First Aid! Did you know it was a thing? It’s just like the Physical First Aid that many of us know of, and have most probably completed a training course in, but it’s solely concerned with the well-being of people’s mental health. As a qualified Mental Health First Aider, I want to share with you why you should become one too and why right now is such a crucial time to do it!

We are facing a national mental health emergency. The Pandemic has had a huge impact on our well-being which has negatively affected our mental health in more ways than one. This may not necessarily mean that it has led to you being diagnosed with a mental illness but just think about the times in the past year that you have felt anxious, down, unmotivated, or erratically emotional… it’s more than what’s normal for you right?

This is the result of our mental health being not so healthy, and we’ve all been there! It’s important to remember that sometimes this will just pass like a sniffly cold often does after just taking it easy for a few days without taking any medication, but sometimes you won’t be able to shift that mind cold and it will stick around for longer. Of course, what happens next is dependent on the individual and their circumstances but generally speaking, it can go two ways from here:

  • Ignore it and it is likely to become worse
  • Become aware of it and seek the right support and treatment which will often lead you back towards better mental well-being and mental health

You can think of a Mental Health First Aider as the guardian standing in the way of option number one and directing you, with a giant foam finger, towards option number two!

The purpose of Mental Health First Aid is to facilitate and support the intervention, they are not trained mental health support providers (like counsellors or psychotherapists) but they will often know if that’s the kind of support a person may need and will encourage them to get there. Just like a Physical First Aider, a Mental Health First Aider will know the signs and symptoms to look out for that may suggest someone is suffering or at risk and will take action to get them the correct support they need, which could potentially save their life.

Where Physical First Aid and Mental Health First Aid doesn’t match up is in legislation and regulations – surprise, surprise! *Rolls Eyes* Currently, it is recommended by Health & Safety England that there should be at least one Physical First Aider for every 50 employees within a workplace. However, as yet, there are no such regulations or requirements for Mental Health First Aid!

This is why individuals and organisations need to be taking the initiative to actively implement Mental Health First Aid.

 

Anyone can book a course to become a qualified Mental Health First Aider online with Mental Health First Aid England. If you are unable to afford the cost perhaps take it to your workplace and see if they can fund it for you to help do their bit in supporting the mental health and well-being of their employees!

1 in 100 people have completed the qualification in the UK since it was established in 2009, but 1 in 4 people are expected to face a mental health problem every year, so join the half a million Mental Health First Aiders now to help close that gap!

 

Keep up to date with Mental Health First Aid News: https://mhfaengland.org/mhfa-centre/news/

 

References:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/sep/02/uk-training-record-number-of-mental-health-first-aiders

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/blog/mental-health-first-aid-and-the-law

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