MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID NEEDED DURING COVID-19 TIMES – GET QUALIFIED
by Dr Liza Jachens, Occupational Health Psychologist, Webster University, Geneva
The coronavirus and self-isolation has put the spotlight on mental health issues such as anxiety and depression in these turbulent times. However, it’s worth noting that millions of people struggle with mental health issues in everyday life.
The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2017) estimates that 792 million people live with a mental health disorder. This is slightly more than one in 10 people globally (10.7%) and places mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Would you know what to do if someone in your workplace or a friend was suffering from a mental health problem?
Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. We need to think of mental illness in the same way as we think of physical illness, to value them equally.
COVID-19 IS NOT JUST A PHYSICAL ISSUE
Professional help and treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional (WHO, 2001). Stigma and neglect are some of the reasons that prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders. By becoming a mental health first aider you can help break the stigma surrounding mental health and offer comfort and support in a crisis until help arrives. In the Mental Health First Aid course, you learn to identify risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.
No matter what sector we work and live in, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just a physical health issue; it’s also a mental health issue. It is having a significant effect on all aspects of society, on employees, on colleagues, on families and on their mental health and wellbeing. Perhaps some are feeling ‘trapped’, anxious or lonely.
As a result of lockdown, there is the possibility of increased household tensions, family breakdown, and domestic abuse. Others may be feeling a profound sense of loss: a sense of loss can result from losing direct social contacts, loved ones, employment, educational opportunities, recreation, freedoms, and supports (Cowan, 2020).
It seems that now may be an important time to enrol in a mental health first aid course with the extra pressures and concerns that many are facing in uncertain times.
WHAT IS MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID?
MHFA training is a short course in mental health. It aims to clear up a lot of common myths about mental illness. Course participants gain a better understanding of different mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma, psychosis and challenges related to alcohol and other drugs. Furthermore, participants learn how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid teaches about recovery and resilience – the belief that individuals experiencing these challenges can and do get better and use their strengths to stay well.
A Mental Health First Aider in the workplace is a point of contact for an employee who is experiencing a mental health issue or emotional distress. This interaction could range from having an initial conversation through to supporting the person to get appropriate help. Embedding MHFA training within any organisation or community encourages people to talk more freely about mental health, reduces stigma and creates a more positive culture. In the United Kingdom, Mental Health First Aid training has taken place in 20,000 workplaces and those organisations have seen reductions of up to 75% in referrals for common mental health issues (MHFA, UK).
Although people living with mental illnesses often need ongoing treatment, during a crisis, having someone with basic mental health skills nearby can make a huge difference. Receiving this training helps to create a safety net for the community and the people around you.
YOU’LL BE A QUALIFIED MHFA PRACTITIONER
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training course. It is a 14-hour course that is offered both online and face to face. The training includes explanations from an instructor, conversation, activities, videos and role plays. If you finish the training, you’ll also get official MHFA accreditation (and a certificate) – which looks great on a resume!
In this scientifically based course participants acquire knowledge and learn to detect signs of mental health distress in 7, 2-hour online modules (14 hours). The course is open to anyone aged 18 and over. It costs CHF 380, including registration, course materials and certification.
|Module 1||01.06.2020||Monday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
|Module 2||08.06.2020||Monday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
|Module 3||10.06.2020||Wednesday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
|Module 4||15.06.2020||Monday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
|Module 5||17.06.2020||Wednesday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
|Module 6||22.06.2020||Monday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
|Module 7||24.06.2020||Wednesday||17 :30 – 19 :30|
Instructors: Dr Liza Jachens & Dr Roslyn Thomas
firstname.lastname@example.org to ask questions.