Mental Health First Aid Overview The Mental Health First Aid course was broken up into five different sections as follows: Mental Health and Mental Health Problems In this section we learn about various statistics on mental health problems (prevalence etc.) and learned about what mental health first aid (MHFA) is. We also spent a lot of time talking about how to deal with mental health clients in a non-judgmental way. We were introduced to the five basic actions of MHFA called ALGEE. Assess the risk for suicide and/or harm Listen non-judgmentally Give reassurance and information Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help Encourage other supports ALGEE is used in any acute situation when dealing with a mental health crisis. (Same idea as the ABC’s in a physical first aid course). Substance Related Disorders This sections covers types of substances and the physical, emotional and social effects of these various substances. We learned about recognizing signs of a drug overdose or alcohol poisoning and what to do should we come across someone that has had an overdose. We talked about the “Stages of Change” model when it comes to recovery of individuals suffering from substance abuse. Mood Disorders This section covered what a mood disorder is and explained different types of mood disorders (depression, bipolar, post-partum depression). There was discussion on suicide and how to recognize signs of someone feeling suicidal and also how to intervene appropriately. We also learned how to deal with someone in a manic state and discussed how substance abuse affects mood disorders. Anxiety Disorders This section explained what an anxiety disorder is and the various types of anxiety disorders like OCD, agoraphobia, PTSD, panic attacks etc. We learned how to help someone that is having a panic attack and how to get him or her to regulate their breathing and to calm down. Psychotic Disorders We learned about what a psychotic disorder is and the various types. We went over what the common signs and symptoms are of someone developing a psychotic disorder. We learned how to help a person that is having a psychotic episode. *Throughout the training there was always emphasis on remaining non-judgmental in our dealings with mental health patients. I thought the program was well laid out and interactive as they varied the content with power point slides, various learning activities, group work, video clips, and open discussion. This training is invaluable to all MOA's as they will quickly be able to put these skills to use in their work environment. I believe they will leave the training with a new way of looking at mental health patients and be able to help and support them in a more compassionate and non-judgmental way.
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