Mental heath can be a tricky topic to talk about. Most of us don't talk about mental illness, but the truth is that we should. According to statistics provided by the CDC, nearly 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness. Chances are high that you know someone that has been personally affected by a mental illness. And you may not even know it. Social stigma causes us to sweep mental health under the rug. Even today, many people are still reluctant to talk about a mental illness with a co-worker, friend, or employer.
While it's difficult to reduce stigma in the workforce and community, a program called Mental Health First Aid may be able to help. *The Mental Health First Aid program is a 12 hour training program that teaches members of the community how to support someone suffering from a mental health crisis.
The website states:
Trainees are taught how to apply the 5-step strategy in a variety of situations, such as helping someone through a panic attack, engaging with someone who may be suicidal, or assisting an individual who has overdosed. An important component of the Mental Health First Aid training is the opportunity to practice the intervention strategy rather than to just learn about it. This simple experience can make it easier to actually apply the knowledge in a real-life situation.
The five-step action plan (ALGEE) states:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
To date, the Mental Heath First Aid program has been recreated in 14 countries.
Members of the community can learn more about the 12-hour certification program here.
*Editorial note: The Mental Health First Aid program should not be used in place of a psychiatrist or a psychologist.
Image: Flickr via Military Health