According to the website mentalhealthfirstaid.org, an entity operated by the National Council for Behavioral Health, mental health first aid is the initial help offered to a person experiencing a mental health crisis or to a person developing a mental health or substance use problem. This kind of first aid is given to an individual in need until they can receive appropriate treatment or have their crisis resolved. Mental health first aid is very crucial in the timeline of care mostly for early intervention and the beginning stages of treatment on the spectrum of mental health interventions as seen in the image below. Essentially, the aid is important to ensuring that individuals in mental health crises can be supported until professionals are able to step in.
In particular, Mental Health First Aid promotes the ALGEE action plant to individuals in training for supporting those in a mental health crisis. This acronym stands for the following: A: assess for risk of suicide or harm L: listen non-judgmentally G: give reassurance and information E: encourage appropriate professional help E: encourage self-help and other support strategies.
Research that has been included in SAMHSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices has indicated the following evidences about the role of mental health first aid:
Increases knowledge and understanding
Encourages people helping people
Supports people getting help
Decreases social distance
Increases mental wellness
In terms of overall state progress, Georgia has between 0.2%-0.29% of the population as mental health First Aiders. Also nearby Camden County in Jacksonville, FL, the Northeast Florida Hospital Consortium partnered with the local government, law enforcement, and the community pledging to train more than 10,000 mental health first responders and residents in a timespan of 3 years since 2018.
In support of Mental Health First Aid’s #BeTheDifference campaign, CBW also calls you to action to take a course, save a life, and strengthen the community. Be sure to visit www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org to find more information about courses and certified instructors near you so that you may take the next step towards receiving training.
For more information on Mental Health First Aid, check out the following sources: