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Mental health first aid

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Mental health first aid has been defined as “the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves”. [1]

Mental health first aid is an extension of the concept of first aid which is familiar with physical health crises to cover mental health. While first aid for physical health crises is a familiar notion in developed countries, conventional first aid training has not generally incorporated mental health problems.

The rationale for mental health first aidEdit

Many people developing mental disorders do not get professional help or delay getting professional help.[2] Someone in their social network who is informed about the options available for professional help can assist the person to get appropriate help. In mental health crises, such as a person feeling suicidal, deliberately harming themselves, having a panic attack or being acutely psychotic, someone with appropriate first aid skills can reduce the risk of the person coming to harm.

History of mental health first aid trainingEdit

The extension of first aid training to cover mental health problems and crises is a quite recent development.[3][4] A mental health first aid training course was developed in Australia in 2001. This form of training has now spread to a number of other countries (Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore, United Kingdom, United States).[5]

Research on mental health first aid trainingEdit

A number of studies have been carried out showing the people who are trained in mental health first aid showed improved knowledge, confidence, attitudes and helping behaviour.[6] There has also been research to develop international guidelines on the best strategies for mental health first aid.[7][8]

See alsoEdit

References and notesEdit

  1. Langlands, R.L, Jorm, A.F., Kelly, C.M. & Kitchener, B. (2008). First aid for depression: A Delphi consensus study with consumers, carers and clinicians. Journal of Affective Disorders, 105, 157-165.
  2. Kohn R, Saxena S, Levav I, Saraceno B.The treatment gap in mental health care. Bull World Health Organ 2004; 82: 858-866.
  3. Kitchener BA, Jorm AF. Mental health first aid training for the public: evaluation of effects on knowledge, attitudes and helping behaviour. BMC Psychiatry 2002; 2: 10.
  4. Kitchener BA, Jorm AF. Mental Health First Aid Manual, Melbourne: ORYGEN Research Centre, 2002.
  5. Kitchener BA, Jorm AF. (2008). Mental health first aid: an international program for early intervention. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 2, in press.
  6. Kitchener BA, Jorm AF. Mental health first aid training: review of evaluation studies. Aust N Z J Psychiatry 2006: 40: 6-8.
  7. Langlands, R.L, Jorm, A.F., Kelly, C.M. & Kitchener, B. (2008). First aid for depression: A Delphi consensus study with consumers, carers and clinicians. Journal of Affective Disorders, 105, 157-165.
  8. Langlands RL, Jorm AF, Kelly CM, Kitchener BA. First aid recommendations for psychosis: using the Delphi method to gain consensus between mental health consumers, carers and clinicians. Schizophrenia Bulletin in press.

External linksEdit

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