Commentary: Mental health first aid training is now available for free – let’s get to it

one in five Americans suffer from mental illness every year. in Maine, according to one estimateOne in six children between the ages of 6 and 17 suffers from anxiety and depression. On average, one person in the United States commits suicide every 11 minutes. According to the National Mental Health Alliance, 260,862 prime residents live in communities that You do not have enough mental health professionals.

If you or someone you know is depressed or has suicidal thoughts, call the Maine Crisis Line at 1-888-568-1112; Text the National Crisis Text Line at 741741, or call 988 to call the state’s hotline. TheVisualsYouNeed /

This September, Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, is a chance for all of us to take a step back and reflect on how our friends, family, colleagues – and we personally – deal with the stresses of everyday life.

While the epidemic has changed in intensity and severity over the past few years, the mental scars of such a painful period of time can still be felt.

The way we work has been changing. People are starting to return to regular social engagement, even if some of us are a little rusty in small chats. The cost of everything is a strain on almost every family. Not to mention the headlines from across the country and around the world that can keep us up at night. A lot of disruption and change happened in a relatively short period of time. It’s a lot to manage and handle on its own.

Let’s use this month for a mental health check. Neither anxiety nor depression knows social and economic boundaries. They do not distinguish. While the stigma attached to seeking help with mental health challenges appears to be fading, recognizing the signs of mental illness is not always easy.

There are some common signs to watch for: feeling sad or withdrawn for prolonged periods; Radical changes in mood or behavior, or severe anxiety that prevents regular activities are just a few. If you notice any of these signs in yourself or those around you, it is important that you understand, ask questions, and connect with mental health professionals.

Fortunately, free courses are available to help all of us better support the people in our lives when mental health challenges arise.

Due to a grant from the Federal Administration on Drug Abuse and Mental Health Services, my organization, Sweetser, provides Mental Health First Aid and Psychiatric First Aid, Free, across our state.

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based training program run by National Council of Mental Health that teach us how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health challenges and substance abuse.

Just as performing CPR helps an individual who is having a heart attack, mental health first aid helps you help someone who is experiencing a mental or substance abuse crisis. The course identifies risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, teaches strategies for helping someone in crisis and non-crisis situations and provides information on where to turn for help.

Anyone dealing with youth, veterans, individuals who work with veterans, and frontline public safety workers such as fire departments and police should consider conducting training like this.

Psychological First Aid was developed by the National Child Stress Network and the National PTSD Center, and the American Red Cross, first responders, and law enforcement have used psychological first aid to train staff on how to respond to collective trauma experiences.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the mental health needs of our first responders have ever been there. The need to better support individuals in roles that respond to and manage traumatic events is great.

Free mental health coaching can save your life, even your life.

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