• Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid by Amy Chillag

Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid by Amy Chillag

Why You Should Learn Mental Health First Aid by Amy Chillag


One in five adults in the US lives with a mental health problem according to the National Institute of Mental Health – but most don’t seek out professional help. That’s where Mental Health First Aid – an eight-hour workshop – hopes to fill the gap.

The class trains citizens how to recognize the signs and symptoms of various mental illnesses — from depression to anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorder.

Participants also learn how to listen non judgmentally and deescalate in crisis situations. In addition, they receive a list of mental health and substance abuse resources.

….The program began in the United States 12 years ago and has been growing in popularity with nearly 2 million Americans trained nationwide.

They include teachers, paramedics, human resource managers, clergy and everyday citizens hoping to help if needed.
“Mental health first aid training is literally for anyone and everyone,” says Schwartz.

The US government passed an act in 2015 that allocated $20 million for the program; so it’s free in most communities.

It’s not a replacement for professional therapy. It’s just like giving CPR to someone before the medics come.

Only 40% of people with a mental health problem actually seek out help. Which is why, Schwartz says, this class is so vital.

….The instructors pointed out some signs and symptoms for each mental health issue.

For depression, the physical signs include lack of energy, sleeping too much or too little, overeating or loss of appetite, headaches, unexplained aches and pains.

The behavioral signs are crying spells, withdrawal from others, loss of motivation and slow movement.

“We’re noticing somebody that’s usually well kept and put together. We’re noticing a decline in their hygiene that could be a really good indicator that something’s going on,” BJ Horner told the class.

Horner is one of the instructors for Mental Health First Aid and is a prevention specialist for Maumee County Guidance Center
Class participants were shown how to calm someone going through a panic attack by having them focus on a particular color or sound to calm their racing thoughts. By focusing on the five senses, it “gets them to focus attention on something other than what they’re panicked about.”

….Memorizing a life-saving acronym – ALGEE

A big takeaway from the workshop is learning the acronym ALGEE, a road map of how to react when someone is really struggling.

“A” stands for “assess for risk of harm or suicide.” The trainers say asking if someone is thinking of harming themselves is actually a big life saver.

“L” stands for “listen non-judgmentally.” You shouldn’t offer advice, Horner explains.

You should listen, not interrupt, and really try to hear what they’re saying without judgment. That makes the person really feel heard and safe, says Horner.

“This is their story and they need to talk. Our judgment can’t come into play. If it does, we’re not going to be the one they’re willing to talk to anymore.”

“G” is for “give information and reassurance.” Each student gets a list of mental health and addiction resources for their community that can be given out to those in need.

“E” is for “encourage professional help if needed.

“E” stands for “encourage self-help.”

Read more here (on CNN’s site)


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Practical Advice on How to Help A Depressed (Possibly Suicidal) Friend by C. Madden, PhD

For Most, Jesus and the Gospels Are Not the Answer for Depression, Suicide, and Other Mental Health Maladies (Part 1)

Regarding Grief, Sickness and Depression: Hold Your Tongue and Offer Your Heart Instead by Heather Plett

Dear Ray Comfort and David Barton: Depression is Not a Culture War Battle by Warren Throckmorton

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real causes of Depression and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari

1 in 3 Protestant Churchgoers Personally Affected by Suicide

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming by K. Roberts

How The Bible Can Be Damaging to People with Depression via Patheos Blog

One of the Best Things Churches Can Do for People With Mental Illness by A. Simpson

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