I recently had the (free!) opportunity to complete the 12 hour Scottish mental health first aid course through my uni. It was a hard going two days, both mentally and physically (being up and out of the house for over sixteen hours doesn’t help). But overall I’m very very glad I did it.
The SMHFA course has been going since 2003 after being brought over from Australia. It was then implemented in England in 2007 and in Wales not too long after. It is not intended to replace medical first aiders or to enable diagnoses of mental illnesses. Instead, it is to aid people in situations when they are having difficulty with their mental health. These situations include during panic attacks and psychotic episodes.
I’ve definitely gained some skills which will help me in my personal and (possible) future life. It’s incredibly important to raise awareness of mental health issues and the ways in which you can help.
Things I feel probably could have been covered but weren’t:
– How to help someone with sensory overload
– How to help someone who is dissociating
– Info (even basic) about DID, BPD, and other personality disorders (although the trainers did specifically say eating disorders and BPD weren’t going to be covered very well).
They called social anxiety disorder ‘social phobia’, which of course it’s sometimes called, but I mean, it is important to know alternative names for things to avoid confusion. It definitely needs to be updated for various reasons but this course is incredibly crucial.
Anyway, I encourage anyone and everyone to take this course. You’re allowed to take breaks if you need to, and there is LEGO. Plus, you’re learning how to help people with mental health issues. And that’s always a good thing.