Here at LOVELIVE, we are lucky to have Katie and Jordan who are our Mental Health First Aid Responders and Jen, who is our Mental Health First Aider.
What is the difference between a Responder and a First Aider?
Well essentially, they are the same: an individual who has completed a specialised course and has been issued a qualification in understanding mental health.
We asked what their roles mean to them:
Katie: “In recent years people have become more aware of mental health issues and the importance of highlighting the support available. I believe that society has become a slightly safer place to open-up and speak out.
With the increase in education and awareness, more people can identify their own symptoms and recognise if others around them need support and ways to appropriately approach them. The more we normalise talking about mental health, the more likely we can have an impact.
The stigma associated with mental health is unfortunately still around and there’s a lot of work still to be done to change this. Promoting good mental health means a lot to me and if I can make a small change to help raise awareness and support those around me, I hope these actions might make a big difference to someone in need.”
Jordan: “It was truly eye opening to learn about something that we all face in day-to-day life yet find it hard to understand or discuss. I’m really excited to play a small part in bringing that awareness into the office, whilst ensuring that all of us at LOVELIVE have the full support available.”
Jen: “I had two stages in my life when I felt the world had gone very dark. The last time it happened I appeared to have the world. A loving husband, a home, a job and I had just completed my little family with my second child. But lockdown happened days after my youngest was born and suddenly, my world went very dark.
How did I get out?
A simple hug.
That’s when I gave my head a wobble and took each day very slowly.
When I returned to work, I was given the opportunity to become a Mental health First Aider. I jumped at the chance. I wanted to have the skills to be able to recognise those who may be struggling but also allow anyone who may be going through a tough time to feel safe with me.
I am no doctor.
I cannot give medical advice.
I will not promise I can ‘fix’ the individual, but I have a better understanding of people’s mental health and their situation with the ALGEE plan:
Give reassurance and information
Encourage appropriate help
Encourage self-help and other support strategies
As mental health responders and first aiders, World Mental Health Day is important, but it is also our duty to bring mental health and wellbeing to our attention every single day. No matter how minimal you think a gesture would be, don’t forget that checking in on loved ones, being brave enough to speak openly about your own mental health, and helping to make these discussions happen are ways for you to support the cause.