A programme teaching Counties Manukau residents to “triage” for mental health is attracting many participants.
Sixteen people recently attended the two-day programme, delivered by Counties Manukau Health (CM Health). Attendees were members of the public looking for basic support for loved ones.
Programme facilitator Wendy Mihaka says participants are taught a mental health first aid action plan to assist people developing mental health concerns.
They learn how to assess suicidal behaviour, listen and reassure in a non -judgemental way and encourage a person to seek professional help.
The course does not teach participants to diagnose or treat mental illness, she says.
Ms Mihaka says attendees are generally surprised about how extensive and valuable the information provided is.
She says the workshop, which is free to all Counties Manukau residents, would benefit anyone wanting to learn how to apply mental first aid. Participants do not need any specific prior education and resources are all supplied.Ms Mihaka would like to see the programme even more widely available to everyone over the age of 18.
“If our families, friends, work colleagues and professionals, had the skills of basic mental health first aid to support a loved one, friend or someone in the community, then the supported person wouldn’t feel alone, but would feel heard, would feel worthwhile and would want to seek sound professional advice and support.”
Since CM Health began delivering Mental Health First Aid New Zealand/Aotearoa in 2015, it has produced some 700 Mental Health First Aiders. The next workshop will be held 21-28 October.
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