Whether you believe in the concept of MHFA or not, one thing isn't going to change - a large percentage of people in your teams are struggling with poor mental health.
There seem to be a lot of MHFA haters out there. I'm not sure that there is a common theme to this, some seem to think it doesn't do enough, others that we are tasking unqualified people to be qualified, but whatever the issue is I think they are missing a point.
When it was first suggested that we train the general public to do CPR there were many who felt the same, often for the same reasons.
'They might cause more harm than good, breaking ribs and not performing the role properly"
Our experience now is that the above happen, but that CPR from the general public is often the only chance people have for survival.
Betty Kitchner the Nurse Practitioner who first devised MHFA was spurred on by the results of physical first aid. She thought is we can do this with physicals ailments why can't we do the same with mental health.
All of Minding Minds Instructors are trained by MHFA England. Why ? Because it is the best course out there, and is a distillation of 20 years of experience stemming from Betty's initial vision. It's thorough, and most importantly, backed up by a manual that has clear and processed links to follow. Anyone who has been taken through that manual has the ability to signpost someone to the appropriate professional help.
'But these people are diagnosing and labelling ?'
No, well, not if they've been through our training deliveries. We hammer this home. We are not clinicians, even those of us who have worked in treatment for years are not diagnosticians. However , if a person has tuned grey and suddenly stopped breathing we might guess that it was a heart attack ? The fact is we may be wrong. They may have suffered an aneurism, but we still phone 999 and administer cardiac support via CPR. Because we do that that person has the best chance of recovery, even though our initial thinking around what caused it may be wrong. The point is that we stopped in to intervene.
If we encounter someone who is showing you all the signs of a depressive episode we will signpost them to their GP and support networks, we may adjust their workload, we may even see if they need time off. We will always show care and empathy. Our mantra to our trainees is
"If in doubt just be a decent human being"
The truth is they have be in the depressive phase of Bi-Polar. They may be on the back end of an alcohol binge, or they may be suffering abuse at home, however the point is they now have a point of contact and a route to treatment. They have ( If our job has been done properly ) a person who cares. Not diagnoses, but is there for them. With any mental ill health, when you find it difficult to even care about yourself, someone else doing so is a thread of hope to hang onto.
We don't just train people. We want to elicit culture change, one person at a time, one team at a time, one department at a time, one organisation at a time. We operate from the top down, easier to trickledown and force up. If the exec team are on board, and communicate that to the whole organisation, then the rest follows.
If you'd like to talk to us about transforming your organisation, please contact our MD Chris ; firstname.lastname@example.org