Become A Mental Health First Aider

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The United States is one of the countries most affected by mental health issues. The National Institutes of Health found that one of five adults living in America, or about 52.9 million people, suffer a mental illness. Considering the severity of the problem, the need for mental health first aid is greater now than ever.

Unknown to many, people who respond to mental health emergencies exist. Besides psychologists and counselors that mentally ill patients visit regularly, there are mental health first aiders that come to their rescue when everything goes out of hand. The first ever mental health first aid program started in 2001 through the efforts of nurse Betty Kitchener and mental health literacy professor Anthony Jorm.

There are specific curricula and training to be an official mental health first aider or mental health instructor. Both are challenging roles, but they are crucial to save people from the unimaginable effects of mental health crises. Besides getting certified, aspiring mental health first aiders and instructors should study relevant resources ahead of time.

With the advent of the Internet, the most accessible way to learn about mental health first aid is through online courses. E-learning platforms like Skill Success contain expert-made classes that show first aiders the ropes to render their responsibilities in the most effective ways.

Our emotional needs

Besides having food to eat and a healthy body, people also have emotional needs to survive. Emotional needs are essentials that make people happy, fulfilled, and at peace. The inability to maintain these needs does not present immediate adverse effects, but long-term neglect can lead to irreversible and permanent damages.

Unlike physical needs that can heal independently in time, emotional needs require active intervention and countless attempts to be healthy again. There are many ways to protect one’s mental health, but in times of emergency, people should receive urgent care from mental health first aiders to avoid complications and immediate death.

Mental health first aid training for emotional support

Qualities of a mental health first aider

Besides official certification and training, mental health first aiders should possess specific characteristics to perform their jobs well. Their responsibilities demand different things at once, so first aiders should always be on top of their games.

If you are planning to become a mental health first aid professional, consider building on these qualities:

  1. Active listener. Active listening is one of the most vital soft skills that first aiders should learn. It is the ability to listen to patients attentively, observe their verbal and non-verbal messages, and provide them with appropriate feedback.
  2. Empathetic. Empathy is one’s capacity to feel, understand, and relate to another person’s emotions. Being empathetic is critical for first aiders because it makes patients feel they are not alone.
  3. Non-judgmental. It is natural to have prejudices, but first aiders should not show any of them while interacting with patients. They should not let anyone feel discriminated against for being who they are or their past actions.
  4. Vigilant. First aiders should actively look for signs and symptoms. Their vigilance will help them present solutions promptly so that patients can receive the best quality of emergency care.
  5. Quick-witted. Every mental health crisis will demand mental health first aiders to make crucial choices in a split second. Besides having a sharp mind, they should also be confident that what they do is appropriate for the situation.

How to structure a first aid session

A first aid session is a series of activities where a trained personnel immediately responds to a patient in need to preserve their life, prevent further complications, and aid recovery. Like medical first aid, mental health first aid also observes a structure. While there may be variations depending on the situation, this what mental health first aiders follow:

  1. Look out for signs. It is always primordial to look out for warning signs and symptoms during a mental health crisis. These risk factors could help professionals determine the patient’s well-being and the solutions to the existing mental health problem.
  2. Carefully approach the patient. After assessing what mental health problems to resolve, mental health first aiders should approach patients with extreme caution. Patients can react differently, so every approach should be sensitive and non-aggravating.
  3. Provide relief. One of the best ways to relieve anxious or delirious patients is by utilizing stress control techniques. It is essential for patients to manage stress and other irritants before further interventions can work.
  4. Offer support and reassurance. Patients should also receive reassurance. Mental illnesses can happen at any time making patients feel overwhelmed and confused. They will need someone to ground them to realize that they can bring the situation under control.
  5. Encourage getting professional help. After rendering emergency care to patients, first aiders should facilitate the turnover of patients to other professionals. First aiders should be the first ones to encourage patients to seek medical help to deal with underlying mental health disorders.
Mental health first aid training writing

Mental health first aid training program

Being a mental health first aider means a life-long commitment to mental health first aid training and education. If you are looking for a reliable online resource to refresh your knowledge and skills and render better service to patients, Become A Mental Health First Aider is the perfect course for you.

Veteran psychologist, psychotherapist, and management coach Jeremy Old created a thorough but easy-to-follow e-learning course. This highly educational course contains discussions on rapid stress response, relaxation techniques, and so much more. All-in-all, learners will access tools that will help them understand people under mental health crises and provide immediate and effective relief.

Prepare for any mental health crisis

Becoming a mental health first aider means carrying a heavy responsibility; however, you will also wield power to save others. Mental health crises are becoming more rampant nowadays, so it is time for you to lend a hand. Build your mental health first aid competencies through online courses available at Skill Success.

Ready to fully dive into your learning? Join All Access Pass and unlock our entire course library for only $15/month.

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