12-hour program teaches people what to do before professional help arrives
By The Early Edition, CBC News Posted: Sep 16, 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mental-health-first-aid-kit-for-non-professionals-1.3230777
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
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.
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.