Could you save someone who is drowning? Can you do CPR? Do you know how to splint a broken bone, treat someone in shock, or apply a bandage? Millions of Americans have been trained to administer these first aid techniques and have used them to help people suffering distress from physical injuries.
Now there is a new push by the National Council for Behavioral Health to expand its first aid program for mental and behavioral disorders. “With one in four Americans experiencing a mental health or addiction disorder each year, the National Council is committed to making this important training as common as CPR,” said Susan Blue, National Council board chair and president and CEO of Community Services Group.
The Goal: 1 Million Mental Health First Aiders
The Mental Health First Aid initiative was launched 10 years ago to train average Americans to identify and offer help to people who are in mental and behavioral crisis. Today, the program has almost 500,000 trained participants, and the new goal is to double that number.
This January the National Council initiated the “Be 1 in a Million” campaign with help from its partners in both the private and public sectors. A $15 million appropriation by Congress is helping to underwrite training for emergency services personnel, police officers, teachers and school administrators, primary care professionals, and others.
Increasing Mental Health Literacy
In a Mental Health First Aid course, participants learn the risk factors and warning signs of mental disorders and addiction. They also learn about resources and strategies to help someone who may be in—or heading for—a crisis. ALGEE is the mnemonic for the mental health action plan taught in this first aid training:
A: Assess risk of suicide or harm.
L: Listen non-judgmentally.
G: Give reassurance & information.
E: Encourage appropriate professional help.
E: Encourage self-help & other support strategies.
In addition, participants learn to avoid the common attitude of stigma and approach addiction and mental disorders with a belief in recovery and human resiliency.
Choosing the Right Treatment
Determining that you or a loved one needs treatment for mental or behavioral disorders like alcohol or drug addiction is just a first step. For the next step, finding the right treatment facility, look to the experts at Coast to Coast Recovery. Our proven treatment matching protocol can help you find a program that will fit your lifestyle, values, type of disorder, budget and location. Call 800-210-8229 to speak with one of our recovery specialists who will help you select a treatment program tailored for you.