Monday, September 21, 2015

Research: Stress hormone might play a role in Alzheimer’s

Stress hormone might play a role in Alzheimer’s

Self-help: Mental health first aid kit for non-professionals

Mental health first aid kit for non-professionals

12-hour program teaches people what to do before professional help arrives

It's a first aid safety course similar to learning how to give CPR, but Betty Kitchener's program is designed to help someone going through a mental health crisis.

Kitchener, a registered nurse and mental health counsellor, created the program 15 years ago in Australia. On Thursday, she is speaking with mental health leaders at the Mental Health First Aid International Summit in Vancouver about why the 12-hour program is really for everyone.

"Most people understand the need for first aid and how to give first aid before getting professional help."

"Mental health problems are really, really common. There is a lot of stigma out there about it and there is evidence that if you nip it in the bud and get at it early, it can prevent people from getting into something much more severe," explained Kitchener.

Like other first aid training, it also comes with an action plan. Kitchener refers to the program's key pillars as ALGEE.
Approach, assess and assist with any crisis
Listen non-judgmentally
Give support and information
Encourage appropriate professional help
Encourage other supports

Kitchener says approaching someone during a crisis without a stigmatizing attitude is essential so the individual feels comfortable enough to open up and seek help.

"You cannot just walk up to someone and say, gee look, I think you should go see the doctor, I think you have a mental health problem," she said.

To hear the full interview listen to the audio labelled Mental health first aid discussed in Vancouver with the CBC's Rick Cluff on The Early Edition.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

How to Get Mental Health Help for You, or a Loved One

  • Speak to your GP/family doctor - Tell them you, or a family member, are not feeling well, mentally or emotionally.
  • Ask to be referred to a private psychiatrist - If you, or a family member, are experiencing serious mood, sleep, appetite and life functioning changes, or increased stress and anxiety that is causing concern a mental health assessment may be needed.
  • Request a referral to a community mental health team – Teams consist of psychiatrists, social workers, case managers, and nurses and they can help assess, stabilize and treat people in the community.
  • Go to your local hospital – If you, or a loved one, are in crisis, or at-risk of hurting yourself, or others, call an ambulance, or go to your local hospital. The staff are there to help.
  • If you are interested in counselling - Ask others if they know of a good counsellor.  Your GP/ family doctor may also be able to recommend someone in your area. You may want to do an internet search as there are qualified counsellors available all over B.C. 
  • Try not to feel embarrassed, or stigmatized – One in five Canadians will experience a mental health issue at some time in their life. You are not alone and there is help available.
  • Review the Mental Health Resources on this page – I know it can be difficult to know where to start so I have tried to create a list where people can start to look for resources and information in B.C.
  • Always maintain HOPE – It does not matter how bad your situation seems, stabilization, rehabilitation and recovery is possible for everyone. The majority of people with mental health issues are living healthy, stable and meaningful lives in our communities. 


Welcome to the Mental Health BC blog

Greetings and welcome to the Mental Health BC blog. On this site you will find information, resources, news, research and links for resources.

As a Registered Social Worker (RSW) I have been working in the areas of child, youth and adult mental health, psychiatry and forensic psychiatry for many years.

I have worked with many individuals, families, and other stakeholders who have struggled to find helpful, timely and effective support and assistance for those struggling with mental health issues. This has what has inspired me to create this blog.

This blog is for informational and educational purposes only. I am not able to provide advice, advocacy, or any individual services to those who contact me. 

One of the first posts I will be adding to the blog is How to Get Mental Health Help for You, or a Loved One. This will provide people with the information they require to take any next steps that are necessary.

Thanks for visiting the blog and I hope you find it helpful.

Tracey Young, MSW, RSW

Editor and Publisher, Mental Health BC