Friday, 18 November 2011

Successfully completed the Mental Health First Aid Course

By Darren Stones

During October 2011, I undertook and successfully completed the Mental Health First Aid Course under the instruction of Master Instructor Joe Zammit of the Norwood Association. I have learnt new skills in how to deliver Mental Health First Aid to a person until professional treatment is sought and received, or until the crisis is resolved.

The 12-hour course taught me how to identify symptoms, causes and risk factors, and how to identify and respond to a person who may be suicidal, experiencing a panic attack or acute psychosis. I also learnt how to assist adults who are experiencing symptoms, causes and risk factors related to depression, anxiety, psychosis and substance abuse.

The course also taught me how to preserve health by minimising the risk of suicide and self harm, recognise different mental health disorders, explore treatment and resources for common disorders, improve my mental health literacy and help reduce stigma, and apply mental health first aid in acute situations.

As someone who has experienced depression and anxiety, undertaking and completing this course provided a great opportunity to reflect on my own experiences. I feel proud to have achieved this qualification, and given my increasing knowledge in this area due to research, learning and networking, I feel well placed to assist a person in need.

The Mental Health First Aid Course is an award winning course, which was developed in 2001 by Betty Kitchener and Professor Tony Jorm, with the objective to improve the mental health knowledge of members of the community.

For further information, check the Mental Health First Aid website. There you will find detailed information about the various courses offered and locations of where they are delivered throughout Australia. http://www.mhfa.com.au/

If you are in Melbourne and would like to do the course, consider booking it with the Norwood Association where you will be in the capable hands of Joe Zammit. http://www.norwoodservices.org.au/

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Darren Stones