The Importance of Mental Health First Aid
Mental health conditions continue to affect a large part of the population, and according to the World Health Organization, as many as 1 in 4 individuals will experience a mental health challenge in their lifetime. Whether it be in an office, at home or at school, having someone trained to help someone suffering from a mental health issue can be a tremendous asset and even help save a life.
What is Mental Health First Aid?
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a skills-based training and certification course that teaches participants how to understand, identify and respond to signs of mental health or substance abuse disorders, without undergoing clinical training. It gives individuals the tools to provide initial support until appropriate care is contacted and available to step in.
Five Steps of MHFA
There are five (5) steps to MHFA, which are also referred to as “ALGEE”:
- Assess the Situation: gather information about the individual, their mental health and/or substance use, and if there is risk to harming themselves or others
- Listen non-judgmentally: Create a safe space for them to talk
- Give reassurance and information: Offer support and provide helpful facts or resources
- Encourage professional help: Connect the individual with proper professional help – the sooner, the better
Encourage self-help and follow-up strategies: Help the person identify a support network and create an ongoing self-help plan
Who is MHFA for?
There is no exact list as to who can benefit from MHFA. It can be a resource for anyone who wants to learn how to help someone struggling with mental health. Often times, those who participate in MHFA include:
- Parents and caregivers
- Teachers and school staff
- Healthcare providers
- Employers and employees
- Community leaders
Anyone looking to offer support to friends, family and their community is able and welcome to participate in MHFA. We also partner with school districts and youth organizations to provide Teen MHFA to students in grades 10 – 12.
What to Expect
MHFA training courses can be completed in one day or in a few shorter sessions over multiple days. Sessions can also be offered in-person or virtually. They can be coordinated directly with the school, organization, business or individual requesting it.
If you or someone you know may be interested in MFHA, please contact us and we can help you get started.