Have you ever been in a situation where a friend or family member seemed to be experiencing mental distress and you didn’t know how to help? Do you wish you knew more about mental illness and how to identify signs and symptoms? Then a Mental Health First Aid training might be right for you!
The SCR team had the opportunity to attend a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training earlier this summer. Mental health is an area all of us are passionate about, and unfortunately it’s also an area that seems to be trending lately, with rising substance use disorders (often associated with mental health issues) and the suicides of several prominent figures in the past several years. We were looking for a way to get more information on what we might be able to do to help, and MHFA was one of the most highly recommended suggestions we received!
MHFA training is designed to give participants the information and strategies needed to provide support, a type of “first aid,” to those in immediate need of mental health care. It is not a replacement or substitution for the care of a mental health professional, of course, but it allows the average person to be able to assist someone in distress and help get them the care they do need.
We received our MHFA training from Metrocare Services, the largest provider of mental health services in Dallas County with an array of services for people with mental and developmental disabilities. Our instructor, Abel Hernandez, ensured our 8 hour training was infused with his enthusiasm and compassion for helping others, and he emphasized that anyone can learn to provide mental health first aid.
The important thing is to remember to ALGEE! This five-step action plan for individuals to provide help to someone who may be in crisis, call ALGEE, is a central component of the course and provides an easy-to remember set of actions to follow.
With this process, and good knowledge of mental health issues and appropriate care, you might, as Abel has, literally save a life! If you’re interested in finding a MHFA training near you, be sure to check out the course finder on the MHFA website.