World Mental Health Day falls on the 10th of October every single year and aims to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts to support mental health. This year’s theme is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.
Every day, and all around us, people often experience personal crises, from potentially losing a loved one, going through a stressful situation at work, or experiencing a serious physical or mental illness. There are also people who sadly experience abuse and/or violence, all of which increase stress and the likelihood of developing mental health problems. We need to be conscious of the need to provide the right support when people experience the stress of traumatic events.
Mental Health First Aid:
Mental Health First Aid can appear a little differently to the normal first aid we are all aware of. A patient who displays mental health problems or distress may not look sick and they won’t need a wound cleaned or physical CPR.
You are more likely to encounter someone — friend, family member, coworker, neighbour, or member of the community — in an emotional or mental crisis than someone having a heart attack. Mental Health First Aid teaches a 5-step action plan to offer initial help to people with the signs and symptoms of a mental illness or in a crisis, and connect them with the appropriate professional, peer, social, or self help care.
A brief overview of Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems can affect the way you think, feel and behave. They affect around one in four people in Britain, and range from common mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, to more rare problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. A mental health problem can feel just as bad, or worse, as any other physical illness – only you cannot see it.
Some people think that there is an automatic link between mental health problems and being a danger to others. This is an idea that is largely reinforced by sensationalised stories in the media. However, the most common mental health problems have no significant link to violent behaviour. The proportion of people living with a mental health problem who commit a violent crime is extremely small. There are lots of reasons someone might commit a violent crime, and factors like drug and alcohol misuse are far more likely to be the cause of violent behaviour than mental health problems.
What do mental health crisis’s look like?
In a mental health crisis, your mind is at melting point. You can’t carry on anymore. There may be an immediate risk of self harm or suicide. You may experience extreme anxiety, have a panic attack or even a psychotic episode. It can happen to anyone.
When people’s lives come crashing down in a mental health crisis, they need help. Urgently. Only 14 per cent of people in crisis got all the help and support they needed.
That’s not acceptable: an emergency is an emergency.
Be aware of the surroundings around you and the emotions of those around you. Be aware of current situations, events and possible tragedies. Mental Health crisis’s can be prevented. If you cannot prevent a crisis, refer to appropriate Mental Health First Aid! Do NOT be afraid to call an ambulance or take someone to the hospital if they are experiencing a mental health crisis – hospitals are prepared to deal with all emergencies, including those of psychological nature!
So how can you take part in Mental Health Day?
Every year on World Mental Health Day, the Mental Health Foundation try to get the nation talking about mental health, which is one of the best things you can do to look after your mental health. All you have to do is get together a group of friends, family or colleagues, put the kettle on and invite them to make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation – it’s as simple as that! Don’t feel stuck if October is no good for you though – you can hold Tea & Talks at any time of year.
Also, be active in talking about Mental Health Problems outside of the home and around friends. You never know who will relate to your words and reach out for their own help and support. Knowledge can help break down stigmas and improve mental health services and treatment.