Mental illness is an illness that requires immediate treatment once a person is diagnosed. This diagnosis might happen earlier because mental illness now has its own first aid program. An eight-hour training session called Mental Health First Aid teaches people how to identify a mental health issue and how people can help. The Mental Health First Aid website says that the training is meant to provide help to a person who is experiencing a mental health problem before the proper treatment and support is given. The program could help a person through a mental health crisis or when they are developing a mental illness.
The course teaches people how to identify mental health symptoms, how to offer and give initial treatment and how to guide the person towards professional help. When people attend the course they are taught through role-playing and simulations how to assess a mental health crisis, choose interventions and give initial help. People will also learn how to connect to professionals, social and peer supports as well as self-help resources. Participants will learn about the symptoms of specific illnesses such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, bipolar disorders and addiction. They are also introduced to local mental health resources, support groups, national organizations and online tools for mental health, and treatment as well as support for addictions.
In Ohio, the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board held the Mental Health First Aid session on Feb. 10 for the public. This was the first time the session was held for the public. Cindy Boyd, a substance abuse and mental illness court coordinator for Hopewell Health Centers, said that health problems, whether they are mental or physical, could affect anyone. She continued by saying that she hopes the training will be as widespread in her community as CPR and first aid. During the training, two instructors discussed how prevalent mental illness is in the United States as well as the economic and emotional cost. They also discussed the possible warning signs and risk factors for depression, anxiety disorders, trauma, substance-use disorders and psychotic disorders.
The training session was also held on Jan. 28 for members of the Hocking Athens Perry Community Action; Boyd said that the members asked for the class once they knew it was available. The National Council for Behavioral Health brought the training to the United States in 2008. After mental illness has been given its own first aid program, over 140,000 people have been trained in the program through 3,000 certified instructors.
Aside from Mental Health First Aid, a second program has been developed called Youth Mental Health First Aid. This program is meant to teach parents, teachers, neighbors, peers and caring citizens how to help a teen or young child who is experiencing a mental health or substance use issue. It is also meant to help the person if they are in a mental or substance use crisis. The program discusses the mental health challenges youth face, and typical adolescent development. The class also talks about guidance from the ALGEE action plan for both non-crisis and crisis situations.
Now that mental illness has its own first aid program people might get the help they need sooner instead of later. The program, Mental Heath First Aid, is meant to teach people the symptoms of certain metal illness as well as what they can do to help the person and where they can turn if they need to get the person professional help. A second program is also available called Youth Mental Health First Aid, which is meant to teach participants about how they can help a teen or young child through a mental or substance abuse crisis. It can also be used to help a child or teen through a mental health or substance use issue. The National Council for Behavioral Health wants to make Youth Mental First Aid available in every one of 4,197 colleges and 13, 809 school districts in the United States.
By Jordan Bonte