Recently, the Claremont team (including interns, tutors and office staff) took part in a two-day training course on Mental Health First Aid.
Just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health which can take its toll on us at any time. While our understanding of what is meant by health is expanding, stigma still exists around mental ill health. This can mean that we aren’t always as effective at supporting each other as we could be.
However, the training provided a great opportunity to learn how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue.
We started off by looking at our own sources of stress and how they can fill up our ‘stress container.’ The aim of the stress container was to help us visualise how stress can build up, what can happen when it ‘overflows’ and what our ‘tap’ might be that can help with the flow. After this we were encouraged to consider what in our stress container needed urgent attention, who might be able to help us, and what some helpful coping strategies might be.
From here we explored a whole range of topics including areas like depression, substance misuse, and psychosis as well as much more. To support us along the way, we were taught ALGEE:
Approach the person, assess and assist with any crisis
Listen and communicate non-judgementally
Give support and information
Encourage the person to get appropriate professional help
Encourage other supports
Having these five basic steps in mind equips us to be able to respond to any situation we encounter. So while we may not have come out of the two days as fully fledged psychiatrists (any more than a First Aid course makes you a doctor) the team at Claremont are now far better able to listen, reassure and respond, and even potentially stop a crisis from happening.
Huge thank you to Islington Council who, through Rethink Mental Illness, delivered this training to us for free.