Mental Health First Aid

One of the biggest needs that I see in local church ministry is in the area of mental health. There was very little training for me in seminary on mental health and the church was not really talking about it.

Thankfully there are some good opportunities to gain quality training. One that I was able to experience is the program called Mental Health First Aid.

In regular first aid, the gal is not to provide full medical care. First aid is designed for the average person to stabilize the injured person until they can get professional help.

In many ways that is what Mental Health First Aid is. This is not designed to train people to be counsellors. It is meant to equip people to help a person in a mental health crisis, make sure they are safe and then point them in the right direction.

There is some very good material in this course, including an introduction mental illnesses and addictions. But the core of the course is around the acronym ALGEE:

Assess the risk of suicide and/or harm
Listen non-judgmentally
Give reassurance
Encourage professional support
Encourage other supports

This course is not Christian in nature. I actually took the course in a military context. But is appropriate in a number of contexts, including the local church.

I really enjoyed taking the course and found it to be relevant to numerous aspects of my ministry. It was time well spent.

I would encourage you to look into Mental Health First Aid and to take the course with your leadership team.



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