May is Mental Health Month– Learn what you can do to help
All of us have some understanding of first aid, CPR, or at least how to call 911 in an emergency. But, what about mental health first aid?
If you are like most of the population, you avoid getting involved with someone experiencing mental or emotional stress or crises. Yet, one in four Americans suffer from mental illness or addiction according to the National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH). Chances are we will all encounter someone in mental health distress at some point. The good news is we all have the capacity to help. Our part in this process can range from simply listening to offering to make the call to get professional help. Above all, the best way we can help is through making connections with others.
Mental Health First Aid, as taught by the NCBH, teaches the skills needed to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance abuse challenges and crises. This program can best be summed up in the 5 letter acronym ALGEE;
A: Assess for risk of suicide or harm,
L: Listen non-judgmentally,
G: Give reassurance and information,
E: Encourage appropriate professional help, and
E: Encourage self-help and other support strategies.
To learn more about Mental Health First Aid and ALGEE visit:
Check here to see how many First Aiders and Instructors there are in the US. How does your state stack up?