First Aid Tips For Mental Health

If you noticed someone was struggling with a mental health issue, would you intervene? Would you know what to say and how to say it? Would you know where to go to get them further help?
Here are five tips for are ways anyone can intervene with someone who may be struggling with a mental illness:
1 – Listen without judgment. Most of the time, when someone is struggling with a mental health crisis, what they need most is someone to listen. Be that person they can tell their story to and try to keep your judgments about how they should or shouldn’t feel to yourself. Oftentimes after talking with someone who truly seems to care, the individual will feel better and be more open to reaching out for further help.
2 – Use empathy. Try to put yourself in their shoes, even if their shoes seem unimaginable to you. Express to them that, although you have never gone through what they are going through, you can understand why they might be feeling the way they do given their situation. Be genuine in your concern and in your words.
3 – Encourage healthy coping skills. Talk with the person about things they enjoy doing, things that have helped them through a mental health crisis in the past, and/or healthy ways they cope with stress. If they are unable to come up with anything, try to help them out with a few ideas. Simple things like going for a walk, reading, watching a funny movie or listening to music can be used in moments that feel unbearable to manage. Taking deep breaths also is a simple way to reduce stress and anxiety. These basic coping skills can be used until the person is able to connect with further mental health services.
4 – Connect to resources. Ionia County Community Mental Health can help you here. Call us and we will gather information over the phone to help point you, or the person you are helping, in the right direction.
5 – Safety first. If the individual is expressing thoughts of suicide and you do not feel comfortable leaving them alone, please don’t! Call Ionia County Community Mental Health if you are concerned about an individual’s safety or the safety of others around them so we can further assist. If necessary, call 911 (if you feel unsafe around the person, there are weapons involved, or if you believe the individual may need medical intervention).

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