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Another type of first aid

Monday, 22nd January, 2018

‘It’s real, it’s an issue’ - Marie Kelly ‘It’s real, it’s an issue’ - Marie Kelly

By Emily Ferguson

Marie Kelly is the Far West Local Health District, Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) Coordinator, and she works with communities to improve mental health and wellbeing.

Marie is running the standard Mental Health First Aid course in Broken Hill this week week.

The course is already full, but it is open to any interested adults, commonly attended by those who work in health or with a non-government organisation in the community.

However, it is available to all community members and organisations who are interested.

There are about three courses a year in Broken Hill open to the general community and others that are specific to an organisation, such as The Salvation Army.

The course provides basic skills, knowledge and information on common mental health issues.

The Mental Health First Aid Australia training program has spread rapidly across all states and territories in Australia and worldwide to 22 countries since beginning in 2000.

Many people assume that first aid refers to only blood and broken bones, but first aid is also a necessary course of action in relation to mental health. Mental Health First Aid aims to inform participants of the proper way to support others who are developing a mental illness, in a mental health crisis or experiencing a worsening of an existing mental health condition.

Course participants learn the signs and symptoms of common and disabling mental health problems, what type of help is proven to be effective and how to provide help and first aid in a crisis situation until professional help is received and where to access that assistance.

The stigma surrounding mental health needs to be eliminated. Mental health issues should be seen the same as any physical health issue and anybody can be affected.

“It’s real, it’s an issue,” said course instructor, Marie Kelly.

Local community members should be aware of the services that are available both in person and online. 

Mental health should be discussed with appropriate terminology, and with respect for those who are affected. 

Mental health is a priority project for the Department of Health, as around four million Australian’s experience a mental health condition every year with people of all ages being affected, even young children.

One in five Australians are affected per year, either themselves directly or those around them.

Those suffering, can recover and lead a life that is unaffected by mental illness.

For more information about the Rural Adversity Mental Health Program or the other workshops that Marie can deliver, contact her on marie.kelly1@health.nsw.gov.au or on the RAMHP website ramhp.com.au.

More information about Mental Health First Aid can be found on their website, mhfa.com.au.

 * For mental health emergencies call Mental Health Line 1800 011 511, or Lifeline 131 114 or contact your local GP, community mental health team or hospital emergency department.

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