In a world that often moves at a rapid pace, it’s crucial to prioritise our mental health. Yet, the stigma surrounding mental health support can make it challenging for individuals to seek the help they need.
This blog aims to break the silence and provide valuable insights into mental health support.
Within our First Aid for Mental Health courses in Huddersfield, we look at what provision there is locally to support others with their health & wellbeing.
First of all we need to look at what mental health is, and who actually has it.
1. **Understanding Mental Health:**
Mental health is as important as physical health and encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. By gaining a better understanding of mental health, we can create a more compassionate and informed support network. Everyone has mental health just like we have physical health
2. **Destigmatising Mental Health:**
Stigma is a significant barrier that prevents many individuals from seeking help.. By destigmatising mental health, we can create an environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking the support they need without fear of judgment.
One reason for this could be due to the fact that mental health can very often be hidden and is certainly personal to the individual, and what we can’t see can sometimes be really difficult to understand in the world of first aid for mental health.
3. **Building a Supportive Community:**
A strong support system is crucial for mental well-being. The importance of building a supportive community that encourages open communication and active listening is key
Historically, we had a kitchen table and no TV or Computer or mobile phones in sight. But what it did mean is that we spoke and we chatted about how our days had gone and what to do about any problems or challenges that people had.
That support network is sometimes missing now and that in turns makes it difficult to have those conversations.
We are all happy to say ‘morning, you ok?’ and expect the answer back of ‘ yes, are you?’ However that doesn’t encourage people to be open and honest about the situations they are feeling at the time.
4. **Available Resources:**
Providing information on available mental health resources, including hotlines, counselling services, and online platforms is so unbelievably helpful. On our mental health first aid courses, our learners look and explore different options and find the support that best suits varying needs. This is highlighted as a sign of strength, not weakness.
5. **Self-Care Practices:**
Introducing self-care practices that can contribute to overall mental well-being is also a part we now sadly miss out on. From mindfulness and meditation to exercise and proper sleep, it is so helpful to share practical tips that individuals can incorporate into their daily lives. Empowering individuals to prioritise self-care as an essential aspect of maintaining good mental health.
6. **Encouraging Professional Help:**
While a strong support system is crucial, sometimes professional help is necessary on some occasions and this could be GP, crisis team, A & E or Samaritans in the first instance. Discussing the benefits of therapy and counselling, emphasising that seeking the assistance of mental health professionals is a proactive step towards better mental well-being is something we should all be comfortable in saying moving forward.
7. **Sharing Personal Stories:**
Talking about personal stories or testimonials to humanise the mental health journey can be really useful as long as this doesn’t take away the initial fact you are there to support someone else. Although real-life experiences can inspire others to seek help and show that they are not alone in their struggles. Both Steve and myself have struggled, myself from the age of 5 to be honest, when my life was turned upside down and support in those days wasn’t heard of, and that is why we are passionate about supporting and teaching others with their mental health through our First Aid for Mental Health courses.
In conclusion, creating a culture of mental health support requires collective effort. By understanding mental health, breaking down stigma, building supportive communities, and accessing available resources, we can make significant strides in fostering a healthier and more compassionate society. Let’s encourage open conversations and be allies in the journey towards mental well-being. Together, we can break the silence surrounding mental health and create a world where everyone feels heard, supported, and understood.
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