Behind The Conversation
A closer look at mental health first aid conversations
In support of this month’s conversation theme we have launched a resource page for MHFAiders looking to learn more about what makes a successful mental health first aid conversation and how the knowledge learned on a Mental Health First Aid course can be applied in the real world.
We hope this resource will be an invaluable tool, allowing you to hone your skills and refresh your knowledge.
We will add new content and conversations regularly that covers a range of different scenarios, contexts, and settings.
Words Matter – Compassionate Language for Mental Health
If you’ve ever been positively lifted by the kind words of a friend or colleague, then you’ll know first-hand the power of supportive language.
But how regularly have you thought about the role of language, and the importance of compassionate language, in providing support?
In our latest article we take a look at the importance of using language that is respectful and inclusive.
MHFA Instructor, Nicholas Bloom
MHFA Australia’s Erin Healy caught up with one of our MHFAiders turned Instructor, Nicholas Bloom to talk about his journey to becoming an MHFA Instructor, his work in the community and how he is using his passion in the mental health space, to educate and inspire others.
We hope you enjoy watching the video.
To connect with Nic and keep up to date with his work and advocacy, you can find him here:
This ALGEE in Action we take a closer look at Encouraging professional help.
Seeking professional help for mental illness is key to recovery, but there can be barriers that stop someone from getting the professional help they need and it is important to explore their reasons for not wanting to seek help.
Here we look at some of the common barriers to professional help-seeking and what you, as an MHFAider, can do to help the person overcome them.
Visit our ALGEE in Action page where we take a closer look at each of the 5 actions.
If you have explored and addressed their barriers, but they still do not wish to seek professional help, think outside the box and look for alternative ways to provide support. For example, if they have shared feelings of loneliness, ask if they would engage in a social group or activity like a men’s shed or walking group.
Don’t forget that listening and communicating non-judgementally underpins all you do as an MHFAider and will certainly help you support the person to overcome any barriers to seeking appropriate professional support.
Common barrier 1: The person does not know that help is available.
Possible response: People may not realise that what they are experiencing is a mental health problem that can be treated. This is especially true of anxiety disorders. You can let the person know that mental illnesses, like physical illness can be treated and reassure them that lots of people with experiences like theirs have received effective treatment.
Common barrier 2: The person may not believe professional help will work.
Possible response: If this is the case let them know that professional help has worked for others, and it can work for them too. If it seems appropriate you can share any positive experiences you may have had with seeking professional help.
If they have tried professional help in the past but felt it didn’t work, let them know that it can often take time and a few attempts to find the right fit. Encourage them to keep trying and remind them that it will be worth the effort.
Common barrier 3: They may be worried about what will happen if they seek professional help or what they may have to do.
Possible response: If they are worried about having to do something they don’t want to (e.g. go into hospital, take medication, stop drinking alcohol) assure them that they can make the final choice for any treatment options. Let them know that most mental illnesses can be treated in the community and that only in extreme circumstances does treatment become involuntary.
Common barrier 4: They feel that asking for help is a weakness or may burden others.
Possible response: Reframe this as a strength. Asking for help is sensible, if you needed help lifting something heavy you wouldn’t hesitate to ask a friend. Asking for help with mental health problems is not that different. Regardless of the outcome of the conversation, congratulate them for opening up to you, it is a good first step.
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