Mental health problems are more common than heart disease, lung disease, and cancer combined, yet only 43% of people with a mental diagnosis receive treatment. While most of us probably have some knowledge of how to identify and help someone who is experiencing a heart attack or stroke, it’s much less likely we have the awareness and resources to identify and help someone struggling with mental health or substance use.
The Mental Health First Aid program, developed by the National Council for Behavioral Health, aims to educate the public on the risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction problems, as well as strategies to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations and where to turn for more support. Going beyond information and tools for intervention, the program also teaches strategies for self-care. One trial of 301 randomized participants found that those who trained in Mental Health First Aid have greater confidence in providing help to others, greater likelihood of advising people to seek professional help, improved concordance with health professionals about treatments, and decreased stigmatizing attitudes.
So many people are out there wishing for something better, hoping that help will show up. That’s what Mental Health First Aid is – it connects people to care and ultimately helps them get to a better place.
— Tousha Paxton-Barnes, U.S. Army Veteran
Did you know?
One in five adults in the U.S. is expected to experience a mental illness this year.
National Council for Behavioral Health