Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health Wellbeing
In my line of work, I often come across people who struggle with their mental health wellbeing. As part of my ongoing training and development, I decided to embark on a Mental Health First Aid programme, which has been created by Betty Kitchener in partnership with Professor Tony Jorm to extend the concept of First Aid training to include mental health issues so that community members are empowered to provide better initial support to people developing mental health issues or in mental health crisis.
Mental Health Champion
At the end of the 2 sessions, we were given a “Mental Health Champion Badge”, but I wasn’t sure what to do with this. Put it on my website? I didn’t feel that I could call myself a champion after only 2 sessions. Would this be presumptuous? Although I am a professional organiser, I am not a professional health care worker. And to be honest, in reality, when would I be needing the tools gained at the course?
How wrong was I. Today I travelled back from a client on the bus and a gentleman got on after me. He sat down and started telling all passengers his story. He was loud but in no way aggressive. Even so, people started to back away as his distress was clearly upsetting them. No one said a word or acknowledged him, instead they just stared or looked away.
It took me back to the course, where our trainer kept repeating: “when you see someone in distress, just ask if they are ok” and so I did. He got off the bus at the same stop and I didn’t need to ask if he was ok, he clearly wasn’t. Instead I asked him if he wanted a cup of tea. His eyes lit up, someone was listening, acknowledging him, treating him as another human being. We went into a local café, grabbed 2 coffees and a sandwich and we talked. 2 complete strangers spending maybe 10/15 minutes together – that was all he needed to calm himself down, to gather his thoughts and think of a way to go forward. I wasn’t able to help him with his issues or give him advice on what to do next, but I didn’t need to. All he needed was someone to listen to him, someone to care, someone who would empower him to decide on his next step.
For more info
I don’t think he will ever read this blog as he has so many more pressing issues to deal with but, Dave – I sincerely hope you will be ok and that our paths will cross again one day. I give you my badge as you are a true champion!
For more info on Adult Mental Health First Aid Courses, contact MHFA at www.mhfaengland.org