Here is an excerpt from Andrew O’Grady’s column printed in the Sunday edition of the Poughkeepsie Journal – February 4, 2016.
Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. You will learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction crisis, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. Mental Health First Aid provides information and resources you can offer to someone to provide emotional support and practical help.
Mental illness is commonly associated with shame, which prevents people from seeking treatment. Mental Health First Aid will teach you interpersonal skills, such as sustaining eye contact, listening without judgment and maintaining open body language. The goal is to help reduce this all too common reaction to people with mental health concerns. Individuals who take the course are more likely to feel comfortable reaching out to somebody who has mental illness in a non-discriminatory way. I always refer to stigma, and this course truly helps educate and enable people to feel more comfortable communicating with someone with mental illness. That in itself is a step to eradicating stigma.