Mental Health First Aid

If someone is injured or having a heart attack we know to get them to the doctor or call 9-1-1, but what do we do when we see someone having a mental health crisis; unable to cope with daily life, having a panic attack or showing signs of having a substance use disorder?

It’s far too common to treat our mental health differently than our physical health. If we get hurt or come down with an illness, we treat the issues with a bandage or medication. With our psychological wounds, however, we tend to wait and hope they heal themselves, which isn’t always the best plan of action. It is important to learn how to practice emotional or mental health first-aid, not only to help ourselves but others around us as well.

Here are some first-aid tips for improving the mental wellbeing of yourself and those in your life:

  • Be aware of emotional pain – recognize it and work to treat it before it becomes consuming. Our body can tell us so many things with physical and emotional symptoms. If your mental health has been in a constant depleted state or declining and not getting better, it means it’s time to take action and find out what you need to get better. Whether it’s reaching out to a friend, family member or most importantly a mental health professional, they can help you get moving in the right direction.
  • Don’t focus on failure, focus on different outcomes. Failure in your life can be hard to deal with and can cause you to focus on negative things in your life and about yourself. Instead, ignore the initial feelings of disappointment and think of ways you can try again or a new path that may lead to a better outcome for you.
  • Instead of putting yourself down, be compassionate instead. Practicing self-compassion can heal your self-esteem. We are known to be our own worst critics. Treat yourself like you’d treat a friend who is being down on themselves.  Give yourself the same compassion and support you would show others. Putting ourselves down can begin a dark spiral; being compassionate and understanding can put a stop to this and get you on a positive path.

These are just a few simple, daily things you can do to raise yourself up. They can also be applied to others in your life who may be struggling. If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do to provide more support to others, you can sign up for a Mental Health First Aid Class. Mental Health First Aid is a campaign that believes anyone, anywhere can be the one to make a difference in someone’s life. The 8-hour course can teach you to help someone who is experiencing emotional health and/or substance use challenges. You can find a course near you by going to their website.

If you are a member of The Health Plan, you can speak with a nurse from our Behavioral Health Department about getting the care and services you need. Call 1.877.221.9295 to speak with a representative.

If you are in distress and need help right now please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.8255.