Mental Health First Aid
This past week I became certified as a Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)! I completed a training course through Beneath The Brave that is designed to teach individuals how to determine and support someone experiencing a mental health crisis. This course was impactful as it gave me the confidence to manage mental health crisis conversations in the future.
I decided to get certified in MHFA because I am passionate about providing a positive employee experience and with that comes supporting their mental health. Mental health disorders are common but the conversations around mental health are not. I wanted to take this course to learn how to navigate through conversations with those I believe may be experiencing a crisis. Not every situation needs to have 911 involved. I knew if I learned the steps of observing if someone is experiencing a mental health crisis to taking action by showing my support or providing professional options, that I can continue to build trust with the employees that I support.
There were many eye opening teaching moments for me throughout the training but my biggest takeaway from the training is that the purpose of a MHFA is to support the individual (rather than provide a diagnosis) and recommend professional options of support based on their situation. A quote that stuck with me through the training was “overflow your cup so you can pour into others without impacting your mental health” because often people are too busy helping others that they forget to focus on self-care for themselves. During the discussion, everyone went around the room and shared how they practice self-care and I was able to pick up a few ideas myself.
My favorite part of the 6 hour training course was the interactive conversations. Although the training was virtual, it felt like we were sitting in the same room because everyone had their cameras on through the entire session. With the group of 33 participants, including myself, people jumped in to answer questions and provide their feedback. There were HR professionals, firefighters, policemen and teachers, among others, completing the course. I even led a discussion in a team breakout room of ways we can start a conversation with someone who we believe is struggling. A few participants shared their personal experiences of struggling with their own mental health issues, including the host, Erin, who voiced her struggles and how she is still in the process of working through them.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, you can call 988 which is the national suicide and crisis lifeline. This free and confidential support will connect you with an experienced counselor and over 95% of calls are able to be managed over the phone. Another option is to text HOME to 741741 to text a counselor instead of dialing in. https://988lifeline.org/
- Miylie Roan, HR Generalist