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Mental health is all about how a person thinks, behaves, and reacts to different situations, life decisions, and how we tend to think or act. These changes can cause mental health problems like anxiety, stress disorders, or eating disorders. Currently, Mental health problems are one of the leading issues in the world. Several communities are trying to spread awareness about mental health first aid.
Being part of this world can get a pretty handful; we sometimes see other people going through different traumas, abuse, or other mental health changes. Experiencing a mental health condition is predictable in our developing ages. From social pressure to economic pressure, anything can drastically affect our mental health.
Sometimes, we even see others experiencing mental health issues; that time, doing something for public safety is extremely important. Usually, when we see somebody experiencing bad times, we tend to take it lightly. But, helping that person out and getting them back to normal is essential. For helping out a person during different mental breakdowns, you should always know about mental health first aid.
1. Myths and Facts About Mental Health
Many rumors and myths about mental health can misguide people. Getting the facts right before knowing about mental health first aid is extremely important.
1.1 Myth 1
Children can’t face mental health issues; they are too small for such problems.
Fact– This is one of the biggest myths one can hear about children’s mental health. If a child’s family goes through arguments or other problems, then there is a high chance that they can go through traumas or anxiety issues. Not only family but even school environments or bullies can also cause mental health distress in children.
Mental health first aid is extremely important, for one. That’s why training is highly recommended for young minds to make them aware of mental health and fight mental health issues.
1.2 Myth 2
Once a person goes through mental health issues, they can’t get back to normal.
Fact- This is a complete lie as anybody going through mental health problems can seek professional help and get benefitted or cured. People having issues with mental health or substance use disorder have a high chance of getting cured by proper treatments or going to community support systems.
1.3 Myth 3
Not everyone goes through a mental health crisis
fact- This is also a big myth that many people believe, but the truth is almost everyone at some point in time goes through mental health crises or issues. They may not get affected, but stress and anxiety are experienced by nearly everyone, maybe during public speaking or stressful situations.
1.4 Myth 4
Take a pill when feeling low, and don’t waste time on self-care or therapies
Fact- Pills can only help if therapists or professionals prescribe them; if anyone starts popping pills, they may not affect the patient in any useful way. Self-care and therapies may be time-consuming, but the treatments’ aftereffects are worth the time and highly effective.
1.5 Myth 5
Non-professionals can’t help any person with mental illnesses
Fact- Family and friends can influence a person’s mental health or diseases a lot. From a positive impact to giving proper needed advice, friends, and families are of great help. Some possible help they can provide is referring to good doctors or therapists, buying them pets, or making them feel exceptional.
1.6 Myth 6
It is not possible to prevent mental health issues in any way.
Facts- Prevention of mental health illnesses from childhood can affect a person in the right way. Promoting information and awareness about mental health and illnesses can help people learn about the topic and even prevent them. making the children know about mental health leads to-
- Improved thinking ability
- Better family relations
- more effective educational consequences
2. What is Mental Health First Aid?
Mental health first aid helps out people experiencing mental health and addiction problems at any point in their life. Mental health first aid should be given to people unless the problem is resolved. People know very little about mental health first aid; learning about it and helping others are essential.
Here is a suggested video-
Here is every detail about mental health conditions, how to know about the problems, and help them out accordingly. Mental health first aid can be helpful for people experiencing-
2.1 Anxiety issues
This is the most common and most prominent problem that almost every person goes through at some point in time. Approximately 275 million people suffer from anxiety disorders. This disorder can be treated with the help of professional help or different hobbies. However, sometimes, anxiety issues can get even worse if not treated properly.
2.2 Eating disorders
Eating disorders can be less heard by people, but these disorders can be pretty bad. Eating disorders start when people tend to eat less or eat a lot due to different reasons—people who always think that their bodies are not appropriate tend to go through eating disorders. Even people going through stressful situations or alcohol abuse can go through eating disorders and start overeating, causing obesity.
This is a mental health problem that can make a person extremely angry or emotionally unstable. Stress usually occurs when they go through work pressure or financial difficulties. If stress continues for a long time, it can cause high blood pressure and heart diseases, severely harmful to health.
Globally, approximately 264 million people suffer from depression due to several causes like unemployment, physical abuse, or psychological traumas. Depression can affect people of any age or gender.
Other mental health crisis needing mental health first aid includes-
- Panic attacks
- Substance abuse
- Self-injury and suicidal thoughts.
3. Why Mental Health First Aid is Essential?
Mental health Crises and problems are more common than one can even imagine—every one in six youths in the United States experiences mental health issues. Over 40% of adults in the US go through mental health issues, and transgenders have a 12% more chance to commit suicide than the rest of the population.
Mental health-related issues worsened during the covid-19 pandemic. Suicide and substance abuse rates increased than normal times. A study even confirmed the increasing rate of mental health issues and different consequences. During these times, we all need somebody to be by our side and listen to our problems.
During stressful times, people tend to overthink, which causes anxiety and stress. Everyone knows how overwhelming mental stress can be. Knowing about the basics of mental health first aid can help know the symptoms of mental health problems and sort them out slightly.
It’s important to know every detail about mental health first aid to get and give proper help.
Many people tend not to let other people know about the problems they are facing. It’s important to know the signs or get properly trained to help people out professionally. If not professionally trained, tell them to get help by going to certified instructors or trying self-care.
4. How to learn mental health first aid?
Learning about mental health first aid is highly important for adults. Not only learning about this let them help others but also help themselves out. Different health organizations have training options to get professionals and help others. Mental health first aid can also be learned by non-professionals to help relatives or friends out during their hard times.
4.1 Knowing the signs
Mental health first aid helps people know about different symptoms and addiction concerns and how to help someone. Though mental health problems can be solved by professional therapists, knowing about the signs and symptoms to help them find professional help is important.
- appetite changes
- weird thinking
- suicidal thoughts and talking
- Facing problems concentrating
- neglecting care for themselves
- low performance in school or co-curriculum activities
- getting quite suddenly
- feeling guilty or not worthy
- feeling that no one wants them
Having two or three of these symptoms is normal, but if you observe all the symptoms or more than four, they need attention. Don’t ever feel that these symptoms will go away on their own, pay attention, and look for other signs that can be responsible.
4.2 Don’t judge and listen carefully
When people say about their problems, please don’t ignore the key points they might share subconsciously. Listen to every detail, which can be important to help the person more. If the person doesn’t talk much about their problems, then initiate a conversation and make them comfortable.
Try not to interrupt them unnecessarily and don’t judge people while they are sharing vital information. This is an important part of mental health first aid. Developing a mental health crisis can make a person feel worse; all they want is to tell someone close about the problems they are going through.
Listening to a meaningful conversation takes patience; make sure you create a comfortable space for them to share every detail.
4.3 Support them unconditionally
After listening to the problems, say that you are always there to help the person whenever they need you. Try using friendly phrases like “this conversation is between you and me,” or “we’ll sort everything out, and things will get better” that will help them share personal information. Don’t ever blame the patients for anything that may have caused the depression or stress.
Encourage people who have mental health issues and addiction to quit alcohol or other substances that may affect them in a bad way. Giving the person hopes to recover and demotivating a person going through a mental health crisis is not an option.
4.4 Know what is not going to help
- Avoid saying others going through issues to “get over it” or “try diverting your mind to doing something else.” These phrases don’t help the cause. Instead, the person may feel inferior.
- Making sarcastic comments or laughing after listening to the problems affects the person in a bad way. When helping a person, this can be a major drawback, and the person can immediately feel worse.
- Try not to force people to get more information, and this can have a negative impact. If you are patient enough, they will automatically tell you what exactly is bothering them.
- One should not advise people with mental health issues to laugh or smile continuously to make other people believe that they are fine. This makes a huge impact on the person trying to share the problems.
- Being rude or impatient while listening to patients can lead them to not share proper information. Try giving a person nice advice, not negative ones, which can worsen the situations they are going through.
- One should try advising mental health patients, not solving them. You can suggest therapists or other things that can help them out properly.
4.5 Encourage people to get proper professional help
This is the most important part of mental health first aid; encouraging them to seek professional help is necessary. Try referring doctors, counselors, mental health professionals, or talk therapies to them for better results. There are plenty of mental health services that proved to be amazing for people going through mental health challenges.
The national council for behavioral health is a preferred place for taking patients to get proper medical help. When a person doesn’t want professional help, forcing someone continually is not going to be effective. Be gentle and practical when reasoning with them about why they should get help. If they still want to avoid professional help, tell them to inform whenever they change their mind.
4.6 Advice them to get self-help
If anyone wants to help them out cause they are introverts, tell them to try self-help methods. Methods like-
- Yoga or exercise
- Suggest people positive books to read or positive movies to feel improved.
- Engaging with old friends, and relatives, or joining interactive social groups.
These are all the measures that one can try even after not being a professional. If anyone wants to get trained to help public health, then they’ve got plenty of options to choose from. There are different mental health education programs to train people to help others going through mental health traumas.
A person who wants to help others can always find a course or learn how to help someone dealing with mental health issues.
Q. Can learning Mental Health First Aid help me with my own personal difficulties with mental health?
A: Although MHFA training can improve your awareness of mental health, it cannot replace expert assistance. It’s critical to seek assistance from a licensed mental health expert if you are struggling with your own mental health issues.
Q. Who offers training in Mental Health First Aid?
A: Qualified instructors who have successfully completed a training program are often used for conducting MHFA training.
Q. How effective is Mental Health First Aid?
A: According to research, MHFA training can boost participants’ confidence in their ability to offer early support to someone going through a mental health crisis as well as raise participants’ mental health literacy and minimize stigma.