Friday, 11 July 2014

Mental Health First Aid

Before being able to give Mental Health First Aid, First Aiders need some basic knowledge about mental health problems so that they may be able to recognise that an illness may be developing. It is important that the first aider does not ignore the symptoms of mental illness. They should approach the person and see if there is anything they can do to assist them. Having an action plan can help to do this more effectively.

The Mental Health First Aid Program provides an action plan on how to help a person in a mental health crisis or developing mental health problems. Its mnemonic is ALGEE:.

1. Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
2. Listen non judgementally
3. Give support and information
4. Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
5. Encourage other supports

Although the action of assisting with a crisis is the highest priority, the other actions in the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan may need to occur first. Therefore these actions are not necessarily steps to be followed in a fixed order. They are numbered purely to help remember them. The helping person has to use good judgement about the order and the relevance of these actions and needs to be flexible and responsive to the person they are helping. Listening non judgmentally is an action that occurs throughout the giving of first aid.

Mental Health First Aid image from ESSPN
Brought to you by: Mental Health First Aid

This is the tip of an iceberg in the amount that you, a member of the public, can learn about providing simple mental health first aid by attending this FREE two day course.

A wide range of Mental Health Problems are covered including Depression, Anxiety problems, Psychosis, Substance use problems.

Mental Health Crisis Situations include:
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours
  • Non suicidal self injury
  • Panic attacks
  • Traumatic events
  • Severe effects of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Severe psychotic states
  • Aggressive behaviours
You may never know when you might need to use this!
For more information you can contact the Mental Health and Wellbeing Staff.

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