World Mental Health Day is held each year on the 10th October and is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The World Federation for Mental Health has set the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, they are looking at raising awareness of psychological first aid and teaching others how to support those in distress.
‘Dignity in Mental Health – Psychological and Mental Health First Aid for All’ is this year’s theme with the goal to tackle the stigma attached to mental health, as well as challenging the discrimination and isolation that continuously plagues not only those with mental health conditions, but their families and carers too.
People around us face personal emergencies every day, such things as experiencing stress at work, suffering with a severe physical illness, or losing a loved one. This is just a small list of examples that increase stress and could result in a mental health problem developing. This is where the psychological first aid comes in; we need to aware of the appropriate support that we can give to those experiencing the pressure of distressing events, this includes showing those affected that they need professional help.
You do not have to be a professional yourself to ask how someone is doing or to give them support following an traumatic event someone may have suffered; it is simply practical care and listening, comforting them and protecting them from further harm – this is psychological first aid. For more information on starting a difficult conversation you can visit the Samaritans website: http://www.samaritans.org/difficultconversations
Tea and Talk
The Mental Health Organisation (MHO) hold a national Tea and Talk fundraising campaign on World Mental Health Day to encourage people to talk about mental health. For more information on the Tea and Talk event and how you can hold your own event at home or work visit their website which has information ranging from help planning the event and also ordering a free pack: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/get-involved/tea-and-talk
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, or want to find out more, you may find the websites below useful:
World Health Organisation (WHO) – http://www.who.int/mental_health/world-mental-health-day/2016/en/
World Federation of Mental Health (WFMH) – http://wfmh.com/index.php/world-mental-health-day
What is Psychological First Aid? – http://www.who.int/mental_health/emergencies/PFA_pager.pdf?ua=1
You can make a referral to our service using our online referral form http://www.tmnorthumberland.org.uk/referring-to-us/ or by calling us on 0300 30 30 700.
If you’re worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life, you should stay with that person and take one of the following steps:
• Encourage them to ring the Samaritans, 116 123, open 24 hours a day or the local Crisis Team on 0303 123 1146.
• Contact their GP for an emergency appointment or the out of hours service.
• Ring 999 or NHS direct on 111.
• Go to the nearest A&E department.