Guest Post: The Importance of Mental Health First Aid by Nicola

First aid is tending to an injury as it immediately occurs. First aid in Mental Health is more than simply being aware of the signs. It is acting on those moments examples, where an individual is experiencing a Panic Attack or is in a state of Crisis.

Do you know how to respond, approach, and act at the moment where a person is showing signs of distress? Can you bring somebody down and out of a panic attack, or safely persuade somebody out of Self Harm or Suicidal thoughts? These circumstances can leave more than those at risk of jeopardy; everyone around them is then in endangerment. When confronting specific scenarios, safety for all involved becomes paramount. Unlike when we have a physical ailment or injury, we cannot simply apply a visible dressing to the wound. Instantaneously think of calling the emergency services when we are ill and have an ailment or in danger; no wonder we have waiting times so long. With three Emergency Service providers, how can they respond in adequate time? When a crisis looks so different to everybody, how can you facilitate the services essential to each individual?

Referring to the Mental Health continuum ‘Healthy’ > ‘Reacting’ > ‘Injured’ > ‘Ill’ This represents the spectrum of Mental Health showing neither a dual state of either Healthy or Ill. Rather, the representation of being fluid, like emotions. Everyone places upon this scale, broken down by those being ‘Healthy’ functioning normally, while ‘Ill’ is somebody experiencing severe Mental Health distress, potentially diagnosed with a Mental Health Condition. The ‘Reacting’ stage is somebody who is; experiencing short-term acute distress causes, minimal effect to their day. Then there is somebody who is ‘Injured’ where the distress is long-term and persistent impacts daily life. One in four people worldwide is likely to experience a Mental Health dilemma making First Aid crucial to know how to respond in each phase. Our aim at most should only ever get to the Reacting stage using the prevention and intervention methods.

By no means; is it only having skills crucial to communicate with somebody during a crisis, having the ability to express what you are feeling prior, accompany each other to stop the development going beyond anything more than a situation under control. Mental Health Conditions should be taken seriously from the initial signs before they swiftly become life-threatening. Mental health is specific to each individual to identify a decline in wellbeing. Taking notice of the variety of Red flags visible in attitude and behaviour broken down into Physical, Psychological, and Behavioural indicators will make it more apparent on the continuum to provide the necessary guidance.

Mentioning another Mental Health Group post about a friend of a family member who asked for assistance as an eighteen-year-old was in crisis unable to get adequate support promptly. Unsure what to do as the young person had been showing signs of Schizophrenia, avail oneself of objects that cause harm this placing their and those immediately around them safeties at risk.


“Advice needed, please. My friend is having many issues with her older daughter and her mental health. Her daughter is 18 and hears voices have tried taking her own life quite a few times. Last night she had to wrestle an inanimate object of her daughter as the voice telling her daughter to hurt people. My friend is constantly calling the doctors who advise her to contact the crisis team, but they do nothing for her and send her home in the early hours of the morning. I’ve experienced something very similar with my son and the crisis team.- This lady called the ambulance last night and was told she would have to wait two hours!” FB Mental Health Awareness and Support 2021

A common challenge for a vast majority. Underprepared to know how to instantly respond and react when scenarios like mentioned are instigated, acting on our instinct to protect, automatically affecting our fight or flight response systems. Showcasing, why it is beneficial to educate how to carry out first aid safely. Educating about bodily responses done through Science providing theory behind the practice further opens up our insight into boundaries for protection allowing healthy outcomes. Requires addressing the complexity of Mental Health rather than the discussed terms of Depression and Anxiety on the emotional scale. Unfortunately, shown in waiting times, the ratio between the number of people present to provide immediate aid; outweighs the demand for those accessing support. Since the education previously installed in Curriculums was not apparent. First aid responders and crisis teams are limited. Emergency services have not always had the provisions on how to handle each case. The interim is a danger zone, as time is of the essence to prevent the escalation. Techniques for de-escalation example: one part of mindfulness can be taught through Science and implied in Physical Education. Breath control and using this as our hearts begin to race as we undertake physical activity to reduce heart rate relieving pressure on the nervous system.

Education staff and Students should be aware of Mental Health First Aid as signs exhibit in front of them in the first instance. Are your associates always happy that you assume they have the world under control or, is this a coping mechanism? The front people portray can often be an illusion to cover up emotions felt inside. The perception of Mental Health is not all black and white. Habitually, perceiving that a decline in Mental Wellbeing showcases only as sorrow and untoward behaviour; expression is like art, displayed in various ways. Sometimes it is the colourful ones least expected to require support, then suddenly Die by Suicide. It does not mean it always entails a trained Mental Health Professional to assist and aid in an individual’s recovery. A human already possesses attributes of a Counsellor default within our mechanics. Like a car, all the parts are in place, ready to learn the system to drive, selecting the correct gear dependant on the engine and velocity. Approach by our closest allies before we even seek intervention through alternative means, without even being aware, whether through body language or the signs and signals mentioned above.

Life skills can be in lessons already taught, for example, English our Communitive Skills. Drama, re-enacting scenarios. Ensure at least one trained Mental Health First Aider and Counsellor prominently based on school sites for more complex cases. During my time in education, there was no easily identifiable adult who I could approach qualified in these matters. Neither a trained professional who appropriately recognised the signs and symptoms; I was displaying in response to the Mental Health dilemma’s making me reach the “Injured” stage escalating to “Ill” quite dramatically during the time I was in the care of these providers.

Growing up and still, I find with the people I encounter the lack of ability to effectively communicate with those living with Mental Health Disorders, even in general society, using abortive or offensive terminology. On many occasions, I would feel not heard or understood, from minimal Mental Health training, considering being one of the main parts of our genetic build up there has been so much left untaught. Even with qualified professionals of older generations, I felt at unease. Voicing over me unable to finish or to reason with my emotions refraining my mind, making matters worse. It does not only come from the way we speak to surrounding people. Yet how we talk to ourselves. Receptive in our mind instead of those voices inside our heads projected by others. Learnt through Authentic acceptance, become aware of our logic, and performing First Aid on ourselves.

Previous gone through similar experiences myself of requiring intervention from emergency services. The response was also not immediate. After contacting emergency services, the Crisis Team took twenty-four hours to get in touch, simply being an open and shut case. After initially informed somebody would be in touch within 4 hours. If I had not learned to Emotionally Regulate, there is no telling where that low mood would have ended within the interim. Suicidal thoughts mean we want things to end. It is not the life you want to end. It is changing the perspective of circumstances you are facing. Gaining clarity that subject to those dilemmas, you still have a choice.

The situation was as recent as this year unable, to cope and in a depressive state. The anxious conditions from my experiences growing up at home and school, finding emotions challenging to process internally. When approaching unfamiliar settings, my mind and body become overwhelmed; especially, attending interviews, this being one of my triggers over stimulating my senses. A part of employment groups and adult learning service providers, often their encouragement is ‘we all get anxious’ yet, detracting from those experiencing a heightened engagement of bodily responses based on the fear, installed in memory and subconscious matter. It would be more supportive to know how to ask how you can support them further, looking at ways to adapt to make it easier to find their grounding. A lot comes from being uneducated on how to enunciate feelings and emotions: the absence of understanding of how to activate the correct part of our nervous systems. Without so leaves the inability to rein in control of the responses, no skills to regulate, to provide the initial first aid internally. If unable to acquire support from external sources. The education would support the acceptance of nervousness as part of the emotional scale encouraging, ways to manage adversities.

Although there is nothing wrong with reassurance, I would never discourage a hug. However, comforting a person does not mean you put your arms around them and tell them not to cry only leads to suppression. Independent Emotional Intelligence is vital. Learning to explore the feeling at present, capturing that thought, and taking action to address it releases the unconfronted situation. Much like babies learn to self-soothe, to regulate our emotions as we get older still ought to be taught. Most progression comes from processing what we feel. Analysis of the situation that has occurred; triggers our response; to see repeated patterns to prevent it from happening again. Providing through the Education of Emotional Intelligence, you can relieve the side effects and symptoms of what is happening. It does not mean you do not care but, the console process has to happen within. Otherwise, co-dependency occurs, and that is why so many relapses, and those that require long-term therapy or external support. Learning how to communicate; also forming supportive action plans will help in reducing the requirement of Prevention, Intervention, Postvention.

Check out more blogs and Nicole’s website at Dealing with Dilemma

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Importance of Mental Health First Aid by Nicola

  1. Pingback: May’s Featured Guest Posters | Bipolar Bandit

  2. Pingback: Ways to Know Your Mental Health Should Be a Concern and What to Do | Bipolar Bandit (Michelle Clark)

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