mental health first aid
We need parity of esteem between mental and physical First Aid – and it is now a case of when and not if
"If I didn’t have that support, I don’t think I’d be here."
"It’s not about fixing someone, it’s just about helping people."
If someone is injured or becomes ill at work, the chances are someone trained in physical first aid will be on hand to help
We recognise that Mental Health First Aid is not a panacea, it provides that initial link and a first step on the ladder to helping someone access further support but, in my opinion, it should be considered as a core part of a wider, progressive strategy to improving mental health in higher education.
Today We Become The First Country To Roll Out Mental Health First Aid Training In Every Secondary School
We all now leave school knowing the basics of how to look after ourselves physically - healthy vs unhealthy food, the importance of exercise - but with very little knowledge of how to cope with the personal crises so many of us face at some stage. Relationship breakdown, bereavement and disappointment at work are effectively part of life - so why don't we all learn the basics of how to cope with them? In the process of learning about how people experience mental distress, the course then teaches you to spot signs in others around you who might be experiencing difficulty. Statistically you are more likely to meet someone about to attempt suicide than about to have a heart attack - so everyone should know what to do.
A year ago on 16th May 2014, I was making daily calls to the Samaritans and was coping with suicidal feelings so strong that I could barely leave the house due to the dangerously close proximity of a train station nearby where I vividly pictured the end of my life taking place.
If initiatives like Mental Health First Aid can improve the mental health literacy of the population, it will build understanding in every community.