Impact of Mental Health ProblemsMental health crises 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 experienced similar issues 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.
What is Mental Health First Aid?Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a crucial skill that empowers individuals to provide support and assistance to those experiencing various mental health challenges. In a crisis situation, such as encountering someone displaying aggressive behaviours or engaging in non-suicidal self-injury, trained responders can offer immediate help and guidance. Understanding how to address anxiety problems or assist during panic attacks can make a significant difference in helping individuals cope with severe effects of mental distress. Moreover, Mental Health First Aid equips individuals to recognise the signs of suicidal thoughts and provide appropriate interventions to prevent potential harm. This comprehensive training also enables responders to approach individuals who have been through traumatic events with empathy and sensitivity, fostering an environment where the crisis resolves and those in need receive the care and understanding they deserve.
State of MHFA in AustraliaMHFA has gained significant traction among Australian adults as a vital resource for supporting mental health issues and mental illness. In both South Australia and Victoria, the program has made a considerable impact. Mental Health First Aid Australia, a nationally recognised organisation, has been at the forefront of promoting mental health literacy and providing training to individuals across the country. Through their comprehensive courses like Standard Mental Health First Aid, participants learn to identify and assist individuals experiencing mental health challenges, offering crucial support until professional help can be accessed. This evidence-based action plan and initiative continues to foster a more compassionate and understanding society, where mental health concerns are met with empathy and appropriate care.
Mental Health ServicesAustralia offers a comprehensive range of mental health services designed to support individuals facing various mental health challenges. These services encompass both public and private sectors.
Counselling: Professional mental health services offering support and guidance to individuals facing various challenges.
Crisis Hotlines: Immediate assistance and initial help for individuals in distress, available 24/7.
Support Groups: Peer-led support services that provide a sense of community and understanding for those experiencing similar issues.
Cultural Advisors: Collaborating with traditional custodians to offer culturally sensitive care and support.
Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): Early intervention services in the workplace, providing resources to support the well-being of co-workers.
Essential Contents for Your Mental Health First Aid KitNow, let’s explore the must-have items to include in your mental first aid kit, equipping you with the tools to support your well-being and those around you. Discover how assembling these resources can be a proactive step toward addressing mental health challenges effectively.
Board Games or a ToyThese act as distractions from negative thoughts. 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 to have a better mindset. 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. Some examples are stress balls and fidget spinners that help people take their minds off negative things.
A Happy MemoryBeing reminded of happy memories is a great pick-me-up. It can inspire people to look forward to more good times in the future. It also helps people remember that they have gone through tough times before and have become stronger. 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 sentimental value to it. A movie ticket or a trinket with a good memory attached to it will do.
Your Favourite SnackHaving your favourite snack on hand is essential 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.
A Scented CandleScented candles help set the mood and atmosphere of a space. This can be important when trying to relax or focus on a task. When picking a scented candle, ensure the scent is not too overpowering. This is because strong smells can 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 PlaylistMusic has a way of affecting our emotions. Some songs help us relax while others 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.
Balancing the EquationMental first aid kits serve as vital tools during the most challenging moments in life, reminding us of the joys and support systems we cherish. Whether it’s for yourself or a family member, taking the time to assemble these kits is a thoughtful and proactive step. Incorporate these mental health first aid practices alongside conventional first aid methods. Unaddressed mental health issues can potentially lead to severe consequences, underscoring the importance of being prepared to offer emergency assistance when needed and guiding loved ones toward appropriate professional help.
Empower Yourself with Mental Health First Aid TrainingParticipating in a mental health first aid course, often abbreviated as MHFA training, can be a valuable step toward gaining the skills needed to support individuals facing mental health challenges. By completing an MHFA course, you can become an accredited mental health first aider, on top of your current qualification, equipped to provide assistance and understanding when it matters most. For CPR and first aid training, enrol in CPR First Aid’s Mount Gravatt training courses (RTO 21903) to learn more about securing and treating people’s physical well-being. In addition, our refresher day courses and certification renewal are available all across Australia.
Mental health first aid is a valuable skillset. It enables individuals to effectively recognise, understand, and respond to mental health challenges in a supportive and informed manner, contributing to the promotion of mental well-being within communities.
When engaging with someone experiencing mental health issues, it’s crucial to approach them with:
- active listening
- non-judgmental support
Encourage open dialogue, express concern, and offer assistance in connecting them with appropriate professional help or resources as needed to ensure their well-being.
Mental health first aid enables employees to recognize signs of distress, offer initial assistance, and guide colleagues towards the necessary resources and professional help, ultimately promoting well-being and productivity in the workplace.
To implement mental health first aiders effectively, organisations can start by identifying employees who are willing to undergo mental health first aid training. Once trained, these individuals can serve as points of contact within the workplace, offering support, guidance, and assistance to their colleagues facing mental health challenges, while also helping to create a culture of mental health awareness and understanding.
Addressing emotional shock involves providing a calm and supportive environment for the individual. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, offer reassurance, and help them access professional mental health support if necessary, as early intervention is crucial in promoting emotional well-being.