According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness in a given year. That means it’s more likely you’ll encounter a person experiencing emotional or mental distress than a person having a heart attack. Many of us are trained in CPR – but not as many of us would know what to do when confronted with a person facing a mental health crisis.
Mental Health First Aid training teaches people what steps to take. Edward-Elmhurst Health began offering this specialized training in 2010 and has since educated more than 10,000 members of the Chicago community. During the eight-hour training, participants learn a five-step strategy for helping someone with a mental health problem or crisis:
- Assess for risk of suicide or harm
- Listen nonjudgmentally
- Give reassurance and Information
- Encourage appropriate professional help
- Encourage self-help and other support strategies
Upon completing a Mental Health First Aid course, participants know how to recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness and addictions. They also feel confident about intervening during a mental health crisis and know how to access resources to help these individuals.
Mental Health First Aid isn’t just for health care professionals – anyone interested in learning more about mental illness and addiction is encouraged to attend a training session. It’s especially helpful for professionals who regularly interact with the public – for example, law enforcement officers, teachers, human resource directors and nursing home employees.
Edward-Elmhurst Health is committed to providing a safe, seamless and personal approach to mental health challenges that face our community members. We encourage everyone to learn more and consider getting trained. Knowing how to respond can make a difference for someone facing a mental health problem or substance use disorder.
To assess your risk for mental health issues, take our free online health assessments. To sign up for a Mental Health First Aid course, visit us online or call 630-305-5500.
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