Family Advocates of Georgia, Inc

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MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID

One in four Americans lives with a mental health problem each year. Yet, far too many – up to two-thirds – go without treatment.   Just as CPR training helps a layperson without medical training assist an individual following a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid training helps a layperson assist someone experiencing a mental health crisis. 

 

Background

In 2001, Mental Health First Aid was created by Professor Tony Jorm, a respected mental health literacy professor, and Betty Kitchener, a nurse specializing in health education and is auspiced at the University of Melbourne. Five published studies in Australia show that the program saves lives, improves the mental health of the individual administering care and the one receiving it, expands knowledge of mental illnesses and their treatments, increases the services provided and reduces overall stigma by improving mental health “literacy”.  For further evidence supporting the implementation of Mental Health First Aid, please see the Australian Mental Health First Aid website:  http://www.mhfa.com.au/ .

 

In order to increase public understanding of these disorders and improve treatment for those affected by them, the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare piloted Mental Health First Aid in 2008.  The program has been replicated in England, Scotland, Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, and Singapore in addition to the United States.

 

About the Course

The Mental Health First Aid program is an interactive session which runs 12 hours.  It can be conducted as one two-day seminar, two one day events spaced over a short period of time or as four 3-hour sessions.   Mental Health First Aid certification must be renewed every three years, and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact and overviews common treatments.

 

Specifically, participants learn:


·    The potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems, including: depression, anxiety/trauma, psychosis and psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and self-injury

·    An understanding of the prevalence of various mental health disorders in the U.S. and the need for reduced stigma in their communities


·    A 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to assess the situation, to select and implement appropriate interventions, and to help the individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional care 

·    The appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help resources available to help someone with a mental health problem.


Who should become a Mental Health First Aider?

Specific audiences for each training vary, but include hospitals and federally qualified health centers, state policymakers, employers and chambers of commerce, faith communities, school personnel, state police and corrections staff, nursing home staff, mental health authorizes support staff, young people, families and the general public. 

 

Mental Health First Aid in your Community

The National Council envisions that Mental Health First Aid will become as common as CPR and First Aid training during the next decade.  The National Council certifies community providers to implement Mental Health First Aid in communities throughout the United Sates.  Each Mental Health First Aid site develops individualized plans to reach their communities, but all deliver the core 12-hour program and each participating site undergoes tight credentialing to guarantee fidelity to the original, tested model, while also maintaining the flexibility necessary to reach its unique citizens’ needs and demographics.

If you are interested in becoming a Youth Mental Health First Aider please contact Melissa Alford 404-437-5973.

 

Anger Management

We all know what anger is, and we've all felt it: whether as a fleeting annoyance or as full-fledged rage.

Anger is a completely normal, usually healthy, human emotion. But when it gets out of control and turns destructive, it can lead to problems—problems at work, in your personal relationships, and in the overall quality of your life. And it can make you feel as though you're at the mercy of an unpredictable and powerful emotion.

Anger Management

The goal of anger management is to reduce both your emotional feelings and the physiological arousal that anger causes. You can't get rid of, or avoid, the things or the people that enrage you, nor can you change them, but you can learn to control your reactions.

Are You Too Angry?

There are psychological tests that measure the intensity of angry feelings, how prone to anger you are, and how well you handle it. But chances are good that if you do have a problem with anger, you already know it. If you find yourself acting in ways that seem out of control and frightening, you might need help finding better ways to deal with this emotion.

Why Are Some People More Angry Than Others?

Some people really are more "hotheaded" than others are; they get angry more easily and more intensely than the average person does. There are also those who don't show their anger in loud spectacular ways but are chronically irritable and grumpy. Easily angered people don't always curse and throw things; sometimes they withdraw socially, sulk, or get physically ill.

People who are easily angered generally have what some psychologists call a low tolerance for frustration, meaning simply that they feel that they should not have to be subjected to frustration, inconvenience, or annoyance. They can't take things in stride, and they're particularly infuriated if the situation seems somehow unjust: for example, being corrected for a minor mistake.

What makes these people this way? A number of things. One cause may be genetic or physiological: There is evidence that some children are born irritable, touchy, and easily angered, and that these signs are present from a very early age. Another may be sociocultural. Anger is often regarded as negative; we're taught that it's all right to express anxiety, depression, or other emotions but not to express anger. As a result, we don't learn how to handle it or channel it constructively.

Research has also found that family background plays a role. Typically, people who are easily angered come from families that are disruptive, chaotic, and not skilled at emotional communications.

Is It Good To "Let it All Hang Out?"

Psychologists now say that this is a dangerous myth. Some people use this theory as a license to hurt others. Research has found that "letting it rip" with anger actually escalates anger and aggression and does nothing to help you (or the person you're angry with) resolve the situation.

It's best to find out what it is that triggers your anger, and then to develop strategies to keep those triggers from tipping you over the edge.

Parenting Class

Most people love their children deeply at birth, and love is essential to infant brain development, determining whether or not a child will thrive later in life. Yet, this love gets compromised by a lot of things; stress, fear, poverty, racism, unresolved problems or a parent’s own unresolved childhood trauma. Parenting Class helps the adult to mange all that disconnects them from feeling, thinking and experiencing the child. It supports the adult. It teaches them to step back and celebrate their child when anger, anxiety and withdrawal threaten their connection. It gives parents tools to break their own cycle of violence and projections from their childhoods, and this is a very, very profound thing. It teaches the language of emotional literacy. A dialogue that immerses the adult in emotional connection to child; feelings, needs and modeling behavior for children. It makes space for the emotional process of a child in the adult’s life. It stresses the understanding of child development, encourages a clear whole picture of the child with the ultimate goal of staying connected. It builds a structure of family values that emphasize safety, support and values with limits that do not constrict the child, but support learning and development.

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