Mental health is just as important as physical health, yet many people neglect their mental wellness due to stigma, lack of awareness, or fear of judgment. And while many people are trained in what to do if they see someone in a physical health crisis, like abdominal thrusts if someone is choking or CPR if they’ve stopped breathing, there are few resources available to help people identify and respond to a mental health crisis.
That’s where Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) comes in. MHFA is an internationally recognized organization that teaches people about the signs of mental health conditions and crises, and how to respond. This organization also connects those in need with appropriate support systems, such as professional mental health treatment or counseling services.
How Mental Health First Aid Can Help
MHFA offers a skills-based training program that aims to equip both teens and adults with the knowledge and tools needed to recognize and respond to a mental health crisis. The idea for first aid for mental health falls in line with other recent mental health initiatives, like making the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline an easy-to-remember three-digit number (988). This training provides an overview of common mental health conditions, how to recognize signs and symptoms, and how to provide initial assistance and support until professional help is on the way.
The program is designed for anyone who may come into contact with someone experiencing a mental health crisis, such as teachers, healthcare professionals, first responders, and the general public. The trainings are offered in-person, virtually, and in a blended format.
Skills-Based Training on Mental Health
With training on their five-step plan, anyone can feel more prepared to interact with someone experiencing a mental health crisis. Follow these steps in any order to ensure an empathetic and helpful approach:
- Assess a person’s risk for self-harm
- Listen to their concerns without judgment
- Provide information, resources, and reassurance
- Encourage them to reach out for professional help
- Discuss support strategies and self-care
Why Mental Health First Aid Matters
Mental Health First Aid is an important program because it helps reduce the stigma and shame surrounding mental health issues. By training individuals on first aid for mental health, the program helps increase awareness, understanding, and support for those struggling with their mental health. It also helps reduce the burden on professional mental health services, as individuals trained in MHFA can provide initial support and assistance until a professional can arrive. MHFA also empowers individuals to proactively promote mental wellness and help break down the barriers to accessing mental health services.
If you’re interested in getting involved with Mental Health First Aid, you can start by searching for training courses in your area. You can also visit the MHFA website to learn more about the program, access resources and tools, and get involved with a community of mental health advocates.
Mental Health First Aid training can be tailored for specific audiences, such as veterans, teens, or healthcare professionals. As an individual, you can also spread awareness about the importance of mental health and encourage others to take the MHFA training.
Contact Ascend Today
At Ascend, we understand the importance of mental health education and treatment. Our experienced therapists specialize in teen therapy and strive to equip teens with the skills needed to cope with stress, manage depression and anxiety, cultivate personal relationships, and provide themselves with first aid for mental health. If you are looking for teen mental health treatment or have any questions about our services, contact us online today or call 310.388.3713.