You ARE fully trained in mental health first aid

What a bizarre title for an article.

You ARE fully trained in mental health first aid

Surely only professionals and people who’ve been on course, can help people having a mental health issue or a mental health crisis! WRONG.

I went into Mind a few years ago, when really distressed. The receptionist asked what I needed? I told her I needed some emotional support. She told me she wasn’t trained. I said something like: “You’re not trained to talk to another human being?”, “You’re not trained to be kind?”. “Do we need to be trained, to reach out to another?”.

I wasn’t heartless with those comments, they were said from a place of need, and they weren’t meant to be critical. However they seemed to awaken her to the foolishness of the brainwashing that we almost all receive…

That we are untrained, and therefore unable, to help another person in emotional distress.

Where does this false belief come from? Well I was once told on a counselling course, that friends and family can’t help people who are distressed, only counsellors can. I presume psychiatrists, try to persuade people that only fully trained people can help distressed people too.

But isn’t this just a little bit bullshit!?

The best help I’ve had (when in extreme emotional distress) has been from completely untrained people, down to earth people. Isn’t this shocking and bizarre? Well, it should be. What is happening is that untrained people are being told they CAN’T help others, and trained people are having their compassion and natural human abilities at helping others, trained OUT of them! Maybe this is why mental health problems are rife.

If an employee of Mind thinks of themselves as being incapable of helping another human in distress, we are in trouble. Just to say, that my local mind is now MUCH better, and things are changing for the better (this might not be your experience, as apparently every Mind is like a franchise than a standardised organisation, as far as I have been told).

I want to persuade everyone, that you can help. And that yes, you can sometimes help even better than a fully trained person in 99% of cases. It is true that 1% of mental health crises will need intervention of some kind from more than a stranger, however don’t start believing that you can’t help. You can. Please help someone if they’re in distress. Have a go at being a superhero.




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