When people think about first aid, the physical aspect of care comes to mind. These include things like treating wounds and saving lives.
Responders providing first aid facilitate care with the help of first aid kits. In some cases, the items in these kits are integral when tending to injuries and taking care of a person’s body.
While the physical aspect of care is no doubt important, it only caters to one side of the coin. The other side is the mental aspect of a person.
Mental health problems are just as grave as physical injuries and illnesses. If left unchecked, these problems can significantly impact a person’s life.
What Can Be Done?
Similar to how physical treatment has a set of tools to help, there are also mental first aid kits for mental treatment.
While many may be familiar with how to dress a wound, the same can’t be said for addressing mental problems. While bandages can’t directly be applied to the mind, there are a number of other items that act as salves to a person’s psyche.
This is where the mental first aid kit comes into play. These versatile kits can be made by anyone. It is only dependent on what brings comfort to a person.
Read on through as we unpack the essential items people can have in their mental first aid kits.
The Impact of Mental Health Problems
Mental disorders are a reality that people face every day. In Australia alone, almost half the people between 16 and 85 have experienced a mental health problem. Additionally, 20% of people have also experienced similar problems in the last 12 months alone.
The severity of mental health problems cannot be stated enough. The burden of these disorders can significantly affect a person’s ability to function and live a good life.
While treatment is available, the saying rings true: prevention is better than cure. The items in these kits can help in preventing the onset of mental health disorders.
With that said, it’s time to take a look at what should be in mental kits.
Items to Pack in Mental First Aid Kits
Board Games or a Toy
It might seem odd to have games or toys in a mental first aid kit. However, there is a rhyme to this reason. These act as distractions from negative thoughts.
Plus, playing these games or tinkering with these toys can also help promote positive thinking and optimistic outlooks. In other words, they help change a person’s mindset for the better.
For board games, you can pick the one you favour the most. Just make sure that you have people around to enjoy it with.
For the toys, there are many to choose from. There are stress balls that can be crushed in the hand. There are also fidget spinners that help people take their minds off negative things.
A Happy Memory
Being reminded of happy memories is a great pick-me-up. It can inspire people to look forward to more good times in the future. Additionally, it also helps people remember that they have gone through tough times before and have come out stronger because of it.
While it may seem like a thing of the past, have a photo developed that can be put inside the kit. There are also Polaroid cameras that can instantly do the trick. The tactile sensation of the picture evokes a sense of realness.
One could also add any item that has a sentimental value to it. A movie ticket or a trinket with a good memory attached to it will do.
Your Favourite Snack
Having your favourite snack on hand is important for mental first aid kits. This is because food has a way of lifting one’s mood. When we eat something we love, our brains release dopamine – a neurotransmitter associated with happiness.
When choosing a snack though, it is important to consider that it will be stored in a box. This means that snacks that can expire easily or those that melt may not be ideal.
A Scented Candle
Scented candles help set the mood and atmosphere of a space. This can be important when trying to feel relaxed or when trying to focus on a task.
When picking a scented candle, make sure that the scent is not too overpowering. This is because strong smells can actually increase anxiety levels. Instead, go for something light and refreshing like citrus or lavender.
At the same time, it may also be good to have something to light the candle with so you can use it in a pinch.
Your Go-To Playlist
Music has a way of affecting our emotions. There are some songs that help us relax while there are others that pump us up. Regardless, having a go-to playlist helps in managing our mental state.
For the playlist, choose songs that soothe the soul. It could be anything from classical music to acoustic versions of pop songs. The point is for the music to help you relax and de-stress.
Realistically, in today’s day and age, this doesn’t fit in a box. Back then, CDs and cassette tapes could have worked, but these days music is all online. While this may not really fit in a box, a simple reminder that this playlist is available may be enough.
Both Sides of the Coin
Mental first aid kits are important for when tough times seem insurmountable. They act as a reminder that there are things in this life that we enjoy.
Start preparing and packing your items, whether for you or a loved one. Remember that there are two sides of the health coin, with both mental and physical health being important.
Supplement your mental health practices with the right first aid practices as well. Enrol in CPR First Aid’s Mount Gravatt courses to learn more about how to secure and treat people’s physical well-being too.
So, the next time you’re feeling down or overwhelmed, make sure to unpack your mental first aid kit and treat yourself.