How about a Mental Health First Aid Course?

Learn how I beat Depression

Chances are if you ask someone what they know about basic first aid they’ll tell you about the recovery position, how to check that the airways are open and they may even be able to perform the kiss of life.

People with this knowledge can be life savers if they happen to be around when an accident takes place or when someone is injured. However, what do you do if someone has a mental illness?

A brand new course has been set up to teach family and friends of people with mental health problems how to spot the signs of mental distress and more importantly, what to do about it.

Many people are still afraid of people with mental health issues, and that is despite the massive awareness campaigns that have been attempting to try to change the attitudes and views of mental health in general.

Yes, coming across someone who is having a panic attack, is hallucinating, or hearing voices can be frightening for anyone, particularly for those who don’t understand what’s going on. However, by taking a first aid course in mental health could put someone in a better position to deal with it.

Annie Yau-Karim from Berkshire West Primary Care Trust is the brains behind the mental first aid course and she reckons the course teaches people not to be frightened.

So far, there have been 150 people who have taken the 12-hour training programme which covers a number of different topics including depression and anxiety as well as psychosis and suicide over the four sessions.

According to Yau-Karim, the course is not about training people up to be therapists but is there to inform people about when to get professional help.

“For example with depression – the signs can be lethargy, lack of motivation, lack of personal hygiene, and in the case of work colleague you might notice long term absence or productivity suddenly drop” Yau-Karim told the BBC.

“With anxiety it could be physically trembling, nerves and difficulty going to sleep. There are some overlaps with depression.”

Part of the course also involves developing an understanding of what it might be like for someone suffering from mental distress.

“We have exercises from the hearing voice network” the BBC quotes Yau-Karim.

“The participant can hear people hearing voices and what it’s like for them. From there they can develop an understanding.”

For more information on training and courses you can visit the mental health first aid website.

Learn how I beat Depression

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