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Importance of Mental Health First Aid by sarah mathews

Mental health is a topic that has gained a lot of attention in recent years and for good reason. With the increasing pressure of modern life, taking care of our mental wellbeing has become more important than ever. However, just like physical first aid, mental health first aid is a crucial aspect of our overall health that is often overlooked. With about 45% of Australians aged 16-85 years are likely to experience a mental health issue in their lifetime (ABS), we are all very likely to find ourselves in the position of supporting a loved one or a community member – or experiencing an episode of poor mental health ourselves. This is where mental health first aid training comes into play. Mental health first aid training teaches individuals how to identify, understand, and assist someone who may be experiencing a mental health crisis. From generalised anxiety (which is conservatively estimated to be experienced by estimated that around 2.3 million Australians) to depression, suicidal thoughts and complex conditions like psychosis, the training helps people to be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to help someone in their moment of need. This month, the Little BIG team of both staff and volunteers joined Summer Hill community members for two days of training under the guidance of the incredible trainer Ross Durkin and peer support worker Alan Earls. We were fortunate to learn from the insights shared by several course participants with lived experience and had the opportunity to practice the language and conversations that may one day save a life. The training was engaging and interactive. We walked away with a wealth of knowledge and practical skills, a manual to refer to in the future and a certificate of accreditation.

We want to thank Alan and the Safe Space for affording the community and us this opportunity at no cost. And Ross for his patience and passion for facilitating two days of critical information and discussions. The Safe Space and Little BIG House will offer an additional training opportunity in the coming months, and we urge as many local people to participate as possible! Not only will you learn how to support others, but you’ll also gain a better understanding of mental health and how to care for your own wellbeing. So, go ahead and sign up for a course today (join our mailing list to be the first to hear about the next course opportunity) and let’s work together to break down the stigma around mental health and positively impact our communities. And if you need someone to talk to, the Summer Hill Safe Space at the Little BIG House is open 5-9pm every Friday and Saturday night. You can drop in, speak to someone with lived experience and mental health first aid training or have a cuppa and be in the company of others.

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