Making Mental Health First Aid as Familiar as CPR

More than 500,000 people die each year of heart attacks, according to statistics from the Women’s Heart Foundation. The number of deaths occur despite the valiant efforts of passersby and onlookers who step in and administer CPR. Most people recognize the signs of a person who is having a heart attack, and they try to help in any way possible when they see another human being suffering from the symptoms. Unfortunately, people who are having mental health emergencies hardly receive assistance, compassion or understanding. More than 42,000 people commit suicide per year, according to statistics found through the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Many of the suicide victims could have survived if someone had stepped in and offered a type of mental health first aid. 

Mental health first aid is a new concept in which the government is investing a great deal of money. It is like CPR for the psyche, and many people are taking courses and learning how to administer it. The rationale is that suicide odds will decrease if the world equips itself for emergencies. President Obama’s wife has taken courses in the mental health first aid, and many organizations are offering certification for health specialists, supervisors and individuals who are interested in helping other people.

The Subject of Mental Health Is Touchy

Mental health is often a touchy subject. People do not feel that they should assume that someone is having a mental breakdown or a crisis just because of one or two manifestations. The organizations that are offering the programs have a different philosophy. They are using a better-safe-than-sorry philosophy of intervention. The courses teach not only the signs of a mental health breakdown, but also a five-step strategy of how to handle such a breakdown. The organizations refer to the strategy as ALGEE. The goal is to determine if a symptomatic individual is indeed going through a mental health crisis and then offering the best assistance possible to avoid suicide.

The ALGEE Response

Certified individuals are to use the ALGEE response for any person who meets the criteria of a person in a mental health crisis. The A in the acronym stands for “Assess for risk of suicide or harm.” The person is to use the course material to look for key phrases and actions in the person that may indicate harm or suicide. The L in the acronym stands for “Listen non-judgementally.” The person can listen to the upset individual without judging that person. The G in the acronym stands for “Give reassurance and information.” The first E stands for “Encourage appropriate professional help,” and the second E stands for “Encourage self-help and other strategies.”

Take a Course Today

All persons are eligible to take the course to learn how they can assist other people. Instructors will be giving lessons to people who sign up for the course in several states across the United States. Interested persons can simply sign up for the program.