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Wellness First Aid

How To Respond To A Mental Health Crisis

1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness. Majority of people are not knowledgeable or confident to offer assistance.

Physical first aid is accepted and widespread, however, most do not cover mental health problems. Learn how to respond to a mental health crisis in order to help someone that you might be concerned about.

First Aid Action Plan

Approach, assess and assist with any crisis

Listen and communicate non-judgmentally

Give support and information

Encourage appropriate professional help

Encourage other supports

1 ↝ Approach Person, Assess + Assist With Any Crisis

Approach the person, look for any crises and assist the person in dealing with them.

Find a suitable time + space where you both feel comfortable.

Should the person not initiate a conversation about how they are feeling, ask a positive + support question that initiates conversation.

Respect the person's privacy + confidentiality

Possible Crisis Situations

The person may harm themselves, e.g. by attempting suicide, by using substances to become intoxicated or by engaging in non-suicidal self-injury.

The person experiences extreme distress, e,g, panic attack, a traumatic event or severe psychotic state.

The person's behaviour is very disturbing to others, e.g. they become aggressive or lose touch with reality.

2 ↝ Listen + Communicate Non-Judgmentally

Listening + communicating is a very important skill to have. When listening + communication, it is important for a person giving first aid, to set aside any judgments.

 

Most people experiencing distressing emotions + thoughts want someone to listen empathetically before offering options + resources that may be helpful.

 

When listening + communication non-judgementally, the person giving first aid needs to adopt certain attitudes plus use verbal + non-verbal communication to:

Allow them to really hear + understand what the person is saying, and

Make it easier for the person to feel they can talk about their problems without being judged.

It is important to listen + communicate non-judgementally at all times when providing mental health first aid.

3 ↝ Give Support + Information

Once a person with a mental health problem has felt listened to, it can be easier for the person providing first aid to offer support + information.

 

The support to offer at the time includes emotional support, such as empathising with how they feel + giving them the hope of recovery, and practical help with tasks that may seem overwhelming at that moment.

 

Also, the person giving the first aid can ask the person whether they would like some information about mental health problems.

4 ↝ Encourage The Person To Get Professional Help

The person giving first aid can also tell a person about the options available for help + support.

 

People with mental health problems will generally have a better recovery with appropriate professional help.

 

However, they may not know the options that are available, such a counselling, psychotherapy and/or medication, plus support for family + friends.

5 ↝ Encourage Other Supports

The person giving first aid can encourage the person to use self-help strategies and to seek support from family, friends + others.

 

Other people (peers) who have experienced mental health problems can also provide valuable help in a person’s recovery.

Stellarpaths Mental Health First Aid Steps

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