Youth Mental Health First Aid

What a concept! “Mental Health First Aid”. I have done first aid certifications in the past, but they’ve always been centered around physical safety issues. Now I know that there is an organization providing first aid training for mental health issues and I am highly enthusiastic about it.

Today I completed the Zoom class for my Youth Mental Health First Aid certification. I learned how to properly assess the situation and approach someone whom you think is having a mental health issue, how to listen non-judgmentally, how to give them reassurance and information, then encourage them to practice self-care and to seek out professional help if needed.

I also learned the difference between first aid and professional help in this case. Similar to coming across a hiker with a broken leg while out on a trail, I can offer some immediate help and support, but it is outside my scope of practice to do the surgery or put the cast on. In the mental health scenario, I am able to reassure, to listen, and to help the person get to the professional help they need, but I am not qualified to diagnose, medicate, or give therapy.

I came across this course in an email from my son’s school, and I thought it would be useful for me to learn more skills to help him through the stresses of COVID-world. Then, as I was doing my course pre-work, I realized that this could be helpful with my clients in my coaching business. Now that I’ve taken the course, I see the utility in this skillset throughout my life, in my everyday interactions and all my relationships with various people. I strongly encourage EVERYONE to take this course, not just professionals who see a direct application to their job.

On the big, philosophical-discussion side of this (and you know I’m going to take it there), we have a problem with mental health care in the United States. We have a MAJOR problem with mental health care in the United States. We can blame a lot of things for that, and we can point our fingers at who passed the buck, or who dropped the ball. But, ultimately, we have only ourselves to blame. As a society, we are responsible for one another. This means that we are responsible for one another’s health and wellness, including mental health. The first step to getting people the proper care they need is to care about them, respect them, and listen to them. By practicing these skills, we won’t only help folks get the right treatment, we might actually accomplish a lot of prevention as well.

The course is offered in the Skagit Valley area through United General Hospital. You can find all the info on this webpage, if you scroll about halfway down the page to the “Mental Health Promotion Classes” section.

Published by nicnakis

Nicholas |nik-uh-luhs| n. a male given name: from Greek words meaning "victory of the people" John |jon| n. a male given name: from Hebrew Yohanan, derivative of Yehohanan "God has been gracious" Nakis |nah-kis| n. a Greek family name derived from the patronymic ending -akis (from Crete) Amha |am-hah| n. an Ethiopian given name meaning "gift", from Geez Selassie |suh-la-see| n. Ethiopian name meaning "trinity", from Geez

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