Four Common Mental Health Emergencies You Should Know About
Mental Health First Aid is designed to provide immediate care to individuals who are going through a psychological crisis. In a 12-hour Standard MHFA training, you will be taught specifically what these crises are and how to properly respond to each of them.
Let’s discuss four of the most common mental health emergencies and find out why they are considered so.
Panic attacks. A panic attack is an abrupt feeling of fear that peaks within minutes. It has a long list of symptoms, but it is commonly characterised by palpitations, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and fear of dying. What’s worse about this is that it can occur unexpectedly. A person could either be in a calm of anxious state when it strikes, therefore, there is no telling when and where it can cause a problem. Perhaps, this is a reason why panic attacks are considered a mental health emergency. The element of uncertainty makes it hard for patients to control it and find help while out in public. It’s most dangerous when it occurs while they are driving or operating heavy machinery at work.
Suicidal thoughts and behaviors. In Australia, suicide is among the leading causes of death in young people. It is a phenomenon that stands alongside other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, eating, and bipolar disorders. Suicidal behavior comes in many ways. It may range from frequent mentions of killing the self to researching for ways to end their life, writing farewell letters to loved ones, giving up pets for adoption, and leaving valuable objects in the possession of family and friends. Recklessness could also be a suicidal behavior. An individual could instead engage in high-risk behaviors like driving way too fast, and overdosing on drugs or alcohol.
Traumatic experience. Traumatic experiences are sudden, catastrophic, and life-threatening. They are caused by any event that involves death such as natural disasters, sexual assault, serious physical injury, and terrorist attacks. A person who has either witnessed these traumatic events, directly experienced them or learned about them happening to a close friend or family, is most likely going to develop symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress or Acute Stress Disorders. Individuals whose professions largely involve frequent exposure to traumatic events (e.g. police officers, emergency room doctors, first responders, etc.), are the most vulnerable to PTSD and ASD. This is why Mental Health First Aid is crucial in these industries.
Substance abuse. Mentally distressed individuals often gravitate to alcohol and other harmful substances to cope with their problems. Like we mentioned earlier, substance abuse could be a sign that someone is having suicidal thoughts and is slowly letting themselves go through a drug overdose. As a mental health first aider, you can help prevent drug-induced suicides either by talking the patient out of it or rushing to the scene before any complication takes place; or even better, spotting the early warning signs of substance abuse and depression.
Stepping up to the challenge of being someone’s lifesaver could get a little overwhelming. However, with the right training from the right training provider, you can confidently show up for the job. Call us on 07 5499 2406 for more details.