- World Mental Health Day 2016 is celebrated on October 10th and aimed at raising awareness about mental health.
- The theme for this year is "Dignity in Mental Health - Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All"
- Providing psychological first aid should be treated on par with first aid for physical ailments.
In most hospitals and among the General public, there is immediate first aid that is afforded to people with physical injuries, however, mental health patients rarely receive psychological first aid during times of extreme trauma.
‘Listening to people in distress is the first step in psychological first aid’
AdvertisementThe theme for World Mental Health Day 2016 is "Dignity in Mental Health - Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All" The aim is to help people understand the importance of psychological first aid, just like cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is important for cardiovascular emergency.
Rising Mental Health Figures
There is an increase in the prevalence of mental health conditions in the world due to
- Natural disasters that lead to mass destruction and the loss of lives. A large number of people are left without homes and are psychologically affected by the loss of their dear ones, most of whom may have witnessed the tragedy themselves, leaving them completely distraught.
- Loss of a dear one, which could be due to natural causes or due to pre-meditated efforts.
- Closing down huge companies could lead to loss of jobs that can affect the mental health of many employees and their families.
- Changing political situation that could lead to civil wars and coups.
Taking Mental Health Out Of The Shadows
Mental health is considered a taboo and is rarely talked about, which snowballs the condition into a more severe condition. The importance of treating mental health is to identify that it exists and to provide the necessary support.
Every 40 seconds, according to the World Federation of Mental Health, someone commits suicide. This alarmingly high figure can be controlled by active participation of the general community in addressing issues pertaining to mental health and to carry out psychological first aid that would help lower the suicide figure.
In the Indian context, the joint family system was an effective means of promoting better mental health and counseling; however, with nuclear families breaking out of the mould, psychological support is found lacking.
Psychological First Aid
- Provide non-intrusive care and support to the person or family in need.
- Be a good listener, helping them open up about the disaster at their own pace and without forcing them to talk.
- Providing basic needs like water, food, shelter and clothes.
- Calming them and being available when they need to talk.
- Finding out about services and organizations that could help and connecting victims to these organizations.
- Protecting the victims from further harm.
- World Mental Health Day 2016 - (https:www.icrc.org/en/document/world-mental-health-day-2016)
- Psychological First Aid - (http://www.nctsn.org/content/psychological-first-aid)