This week has been Mental Health Awareness Week – Monday 15th to Sunday 21st May.
A couples years ago Megan our Osteopath here at Back2Balance wrote a blog all about Mental health first aid, I thought it would be relevant to bring it all to light again and repost the amazing takeaways and thoughts Megan got from attending Mental health first aid course.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH?
The definition given to us was emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. Mental illness encompasses a very broad range of problems in which every one is treatable. The point was stressed that mental health is very broad, for example depression can range from a minor episode through to a diagnosable disorder.
A mental health first aider role is similar to any other first aider.
● Preserving life where a person could be a danger to themselves or others
● Alleviate suffering/ comfort and support
● Prevent the condition from developing
● Promote recovery
● Help someone obtain the correct professional support
Firstly, we went through the warning signs and what to look out for in people who you think may be suffering from mental health issues. This included withdrawing, not replying to messages, not getting out of bed, behaviour which is out of character, anger, falling out with people, being absent/ preoccupied. The list goes on, however one of the take home messages was that there may not be any warning signs that someone is struggling.
The group went through a number of mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. We were shown this short film to better understand how someone with depression may be feeling. What I got from learning about depression, is that simply being there for someone is enough, as opposed to trying to fix it for them. Offering them a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen is all you need to do, along with supporting them in getting the help that they need. Andrea, the course leader also stressed how important exercise is in helping with depression. Even if it’s just going for a short walk.
Anxiety – It was amazing how many people could relate to this and were happy to share their story, myself included. We were taught this simple exercise called grounding to help someone who may be having a panic attack. List 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
The final mental health condition we then went through was suicide. In 2019, 5821 people committed suicide. Of those people 75% of those were male.