Hello! And welcome to my first blog back since having a work break to have my baby. I am excited to be back and this month I have decided to follow on from one of my last blogs about First Aid for Mental Health as I think it is SUCH an important subject.
Covid has now been with us for over a year, and I think it is fair to say has affected us all in so many ways. I personally don’t know anyone who hasn’t had some sort of negative effect; whether it be a mum like me who has been in lockdown pretty much their baby’s entire life, a parent to an older school aged child who has had to learn how to homeschool whilst juggling their daily work/life roles, office based workers who have had to learn how to work from home with limited space options, individuals who have been furloughed, part furloughed or lost their jobs due to businesses being unable to open or make profit and of course people catching Covid, dealing with the effects of long Covid and those unfortunately having to go through the pain of losing someone to Covid.
The effects of this pandemic can be seen far and wide and sadly our Mental Health and general wellbeing, in many cases, has really been hit. Regular studies by the Mental Health Foundation throughout the last year have found that levels of depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions have been on the increase and whilst the vaccine and easing of lockdowns are helping many of us, there is still a lot of work needed to support mental health.
For someone with a mental health condition it can often be quite hard to open up and to get support due to the stigma that can be felt around it. I always use the analogy that if we break our leg we would go to hospital for an x ray to see the damage and have it treated, so why when we have a mental health illness do we not see a doctor so they can take a look and find a treatment to help us.. (Mental Health after all is just like Physical Health – it is all part of our overall Health). But because these stigmas can exist and because many people feel they cannot open up an awareness course for every person who comes into contact with another person – yes all of us(!), could be so useful.
On a First Aid for Mental Health Awareness course, we talk about different mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, suicide and psychosis. We talk about the signs and symptoms around them; what to look out for, but then we also talk about how to start a conversation with someone we are worried about. This is the most important part of the course for me as I believe we all want to help each other but may feel unsure how to do it or whether we should just mind our own business (FYI I believe talking is always the best thing we can do, if you are worried about someone trust your gut!). These conversations lead us to the decision of whether to call 999 – we should always do this if we believe the person is at risk of causing themselves serious harm, and we discuss the different signposting options available for the different health conditions i.e. GP, charities, therapies etc.
I am really passionate about the importance of these types of courses as I do believe they can make a difference to people in the workplace and at home in everyday life. The courses can be learning only courses or you can do a short assessment to gain an accredited and regulated qualification in First Aid for Mental Health which of course looks great on the CV or in your companies portfolio.
For those interested in running a private course for your business or team, please pop me a message, I would love to discuss the right option for you; firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are an individual person reading this and wanting to join a course then please take a look at my next bookable only course taking place on Tuesday 25th May at 9am. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/first-aid-for-mental-health-awareness-course-level-1-online-tickets-150924781083
And finally, if you are worried about your own mental health, maybe thinking you don’t feel like your ‘usual’ self, please don’t be afraid to talk. Confide in a loved one/friend if you can and see your GP for support. There is help out there waiting for you.