As of yesterday (02.4.13), I am now a fully Certified Mental Health First Aider, so what does that mean?
Mental Health First Aid, like any other type of first aid, is the help given to a person before appropriate professional help or treatment can be obtained. First aid of any type has the following aims:
1. To preserve life
2. To prevent deterioration of any injury or illness
3. To promote healing
4. To provide comfort to the person who is ill, injured or distressed.
Mental Health First Aid is the help given to someone experiencing a mental health problem before other help can be accessed. A MHFA is not a therapist, however, people are trained in:
- How to ask about suicide.
- How to recognise the signs of mental health problems or distress.
- How to provide initial help.
- How to guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
First Aid for Mental Health problems such as:
Alcohol and Mental Health;
Cannabis and Mental Health;
Stimulants and Mental Health;
First Aid for Suicide – using the ALGEE method of approach;
First Aid for Self-harm;
First Aid for Depression;
Alcohol and Depression;
Illegal or Recreational Drugs and Depression;
First Aid for Anxiety;
First Aid for Psychosis;
Bipolar Disorder (manic depression).
(The above is an extract from Scotland’s Mental Health First Aider Manual)
One of the reasons I am sharing this with you today, is that at the start of the training we were given a poem to read written by someone who used poetry as a method of communication whilst going through some challenging self harming mental health issues. I want to share that poem with you today, it is given with kind permission from Davina Smith and it has been included in the Scotland’s Mental Health First Aider Training Manual. Here is Davina’s poem:
You smoke each day
Puff your life away
You clearly know it’ll kill you
You drink with the moon
Drown your liver and soon
There’s a chance it just may kill you
You drive too fast
And what if you crash?
You know it might just kill you
You smoke your dope
Take drug, others hope
This time that they won’t kill you
Can’t see your feet
One day it’ll certainly kill you
You look down on me
And all you can see
Are my cuts and scratches and scars
I’m having my life
While you’re taking your life
Now tell me, who’s the self-harmer?
by Davina Smith (with kind permission)
This led onto further stories being shared by participants of the training of how young adults experiencing mental health issues used poetry to communicate their feelings with their key workers – I found this fascinating.
There is indeed a special power in poetry, I have always believed that, creative self-expression can be the breakthrough that we need to move on in life, I know I have certainly experienced that for myself.
This was a very tough training course for me, maybe because I connected so much with it. I learned a lot and share some of this learning with you today.
May you continue to express your heart through your creative soul, because I believe that there are real people out there, who truly value and connect with your words, you just might be ultimately and positively changing a life too.
Lots of love to you today, Clarabelle
3 April 2013