Mental Health First Aid
About 3 years ago, I took a course for organizers about Mental Health First Aid. It was an informational course, it fell under the personal safety umbrella. As an organizer, when I go to folks’ homes, I’m on their turf. From a safety standpoint, I’m at a tactical disadvantage. A huge part of my work involves being tuned to whoever I’m working with in the moment, but it also calls for me to be tuned to the immediate surroundings as well. The informational course touched on the importance of reading situations, people, and surroundings, but also brought up the important point relevant to us that often extreme clutter is co-morbid with other mental health issues. Being sensitive to those issues and having ways to help (or to preserve your own safety) adds to our value as professionals.
I signed up to take a two day course in Mental Health First Aid soon after that. Taking that course was one of the best things I’ve done, professionally or personally. By the end of the two days, I was certified as a Mental Health First Responder, with a certificate that was good for three years. Since then, I have used the skills numerous times with clients in the midst of panic attacks, loved ones planning suicide, and with myself finding grounding and clarity in the middle of stressful situations. I’ve had nothing but positive things to say about the training, and highly encourage anyone and everyone to take it.
This week, I head back to Sacramento for two days to renew my certification. I’m bringing friends with me. Please, if this sounds interesting in any way, look into getting trained. You can find more information and search for upcoming classes close to you at the national site for Mental Health First Aid.