In the last week of Term 2 I was lucky enough to attend a PD on Mental Health First Aid. The course ran for two days and was mainly focused on people of the age group 12-18, but many of the facts and skills are transferable to younger students.
The key learning point of the course was the Mental Health First Aid Action Plan. This is a set of steps to undertake whenever an individual is experiencing a mental health crisis. It is equivalent to the DRSABC for physical first aid! It is important to be familiar with the steps and also understand that it is not a linear process, but may jump back and forth from step to step.
The acronym for the Action Plan is ALGEE:
A- Approach the person, assess, and assist with any crisis
L- Listen and communicate non-judgementally
G- Give support and information
E- Encourage the person to get appropriate professional health
E- Encourage other supports
The most important part of mental health first aid is to behave calmly, non-judgementally, and in a supportive manner. It is also vital as a first-aider to take care of your OWN mental health first! Just as you wouldn't perform physical first aid with a broken arm, you can't help somebody if you are not feeling healthy yourself.
We received a manual for MHFA which I will keep in the STC office if anybody is interested and would like to read. I am also now a qualified Mental Health First Aider, so I am qualified to perform first aid in a crisis situation. The course was invaluable in developing my own understanding of MHFA and I highly recommend it to anybody else interested.