Course teaches mental health first aid

| 03/06/2018
CNS Local Life

Participants at a previous training course in mental health first aid

(CNS Local Life): In a course facilitated by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority (HSA), 60 professionals were recently trained to be qualified mental health first aiders. The two-day programme equipped those taking part with the knowledge and confidence necessary to recognise the crucial warning signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first-aid basis by guiding an affected person to appropriate support.

Dr Arline McGill of the HSA’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Health said in a press release, “Our department, in collaboration with Major Ricardo Henry of the Cayman Islands Cadet Corps, has successfully held three training sessions since introducing the programme to the Cayman Islands in October 2017 during Mental Health Week. We hope that this programme will encourage people to talk more freely about mental health, reduce stigma and create a more positive culture within organisations and the community.”

Laura Young, who received the training, said, “We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. And similar to physical illness, mental illness can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life. This course has taught me so much, including how to tackle stigma in the world around me constructively. It has enabled me to have a more comprehensive understanding of mental health and offer better support to those experiencing mental illness.”

The ongoing training is open to anyone with an interest in mental and behavioral wellbeing. The course is limited to 20 people per session because of the highly interactive and thoroughness of the programme, stated the press release.

Through a mix of group activities, presentations and discussions, each session is built around a mental health first aid action plan, enabling the participants to have confidence as they intervene in various situations.

Those who complete the course gets an MHFA manual to keep and refer to whenever they need it, and an internationally recognised certificate acknowledging them as a mental health first aider.

The training, however, does not qualify someone to be a therapy provider. Similar to learning physical first aid, it prepares persons to intervene in mental crises and guide the person experiencing the crisis to help, as well as support them during their recovery.

For training opportunities, contact the HSA Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Health at 244-2650.

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Category: Education, Medical and Health, Training

Comments (1)

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  1. reduce stigma ??

    You would first have to explain to me why you offer support to someone who suggests a stigma,

    And then you would have to convince me there is worth in keeping any.