Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It is a normal part of life.
In any one year, approximately one in four people experience at least one diagnosable mental health issue.
But the amount of stigma around this topic is still long-standing and it means that many people still have a limited understanding of mental health. Having a better understanding and encouraging open discussions about and around mental health, will hopefully reduce the inequalities and discrimination still present in this day and age, experienced by those who have mental health issues or live or know someone who does.
"Being a Mental Health First Aider has made me realize just how common and misunderstood some issues are perceived by those with little information."
What is mental health first aid?
Mental health first aid is the help offered to a person developing a mental health issue, experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health issue or in a mental health crisis. the first aid is given until appropriate professional help is received or until the crisis appears to have been resolved.
First aid will normally be offered by someone who is not a mental health professional, but rather by someone in the person's social network such as work or a friend, or someone working in a public-facing role such as a teacher or police officer.
Mental health issues can manifest in different ways and there numerous ways of referring to mental ill-health: mental health issues, problems, difficulties, illness, distress, disorder, mental breakdown, nervous breakdown.
Some common issues include depression, anxiety, addiction, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and eating disorders.
Less common ones include bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Some of these mental illnesses can sometimes occur in combination. It is not unusual to see someone suffering from anxiety disorder to also develop depression or someone who suffers from depression that leads to misuse of drugs and alcohol.
Suffering from a mental health issue affects a person's thinking, emotions, and behavior and at times it stops them from being able to perform simple, daily tasks or keeping and developing relationships, or go to work.
Because of the stigma around this topic, many people feel ashamed and do not seek the help they need.
Being able to recognize early signs of a mental health issue helps when you are trying to help someone.