Start This Year By Preparing A Mental Health First Aid Kit

I am re-publishing a post that originally appeared on my blog in November 2021. As many of you know, I am working for the NHS again and it has been clear to me this past month how tough this time of year can be. So it seems timely to start a conversation about how to be prepared for a challenge that may effect you or someone you care about at any time.

Plush Teddy Bear, Bear, Injury, Disease

Before I start, I just want to mention this post is not really about when you fall over and scrape your knee, or when you burn your hand on a hot stove. However, I do have a question for you to set the scene for this post:

Do you have a FIRST AID KIT at home?

(it turns out you can only see the polls if you visit my website – sorry about that, it turns out the polls block is a little pants after all!)

I am very much looking forward to seeing your answers.

Did you know that you are supposed to check the contents of a first aid kit regularly to check they are clean, in good order, within the use-by-dates, and to replace anything so that you can rely on your first aid box in an emergency?

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

You do not need me to point out the obvious, but mental health is a big subject, and we are all different. But just as many will want to take steps to preserve their physical health and be prepared for an emergency, we ought to give just as much attention if not more to caring for our mental and emotional health and being prepared for situation that overwhelms us.

I have another question for you:

Do you have a MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID KIT?

According to “statistics” one in four of us will experience a mental health illness at some point….although my bestie Marta, who was a psychologist claimed that actually everyone would have a mental health crisis if they met their personal breaking point when it came to the load of stress they were able to bear.

Stress is different for all of us. Some have displayed astonishing resilience in situations that others find hard to imagine being able to cope with. Think a little about some of the situations that can potentially break our hearts:

Have you experienced any of the following?

I truly believe that all of us may experience a mental health emergency or crisis at any age, at any stage of our life. While some may feel as if they have to push on alone, supressing their pain and sadness, carrying on with daily routine without imposing on anyone else – many of us realize that is very dangerous.

That is why many are concerned with bringing mental health into daily conversations with family, friends, colleagues, rather than contributing to a hazardous trend where people have felt isolated with the kind of stress that can push people closer to despair.

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There are more and more supportive agencies who are experienced in assisting those facing a crisis. But whether you think you need help from “professionals” or not….Caramelody highly recommends that you make sure that you have your own personal MENTAL FIRST AID KIT. If you have already assembled one, then it is tine to check that it is up-to-date, that it is still effective and that it is handy when you need it.

What is a MENTAL FIRST AID KIT? You may have heard of them before, but essentially it is practical aids that can be incredibly helpful if you face an emotional emergency:

The kit (which can be adjusted as you see fit) may contain the following:

  • Contact information of people to call when you feel down
  • Favourite songs that are positive and upbuilding
  • Inspirational sayings and encouraging articles
  • Comforting and upbuilding scriptures
  • Mementos to remind you of people who love you
  • A journal or scrapbook containing your positive thoughts as well as positive experiences you have enjoyed

So….over the next few weeks….I am going to unpack my own personal MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID KIT with you! I am going to look at a different part of my MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID KIT, share the details and how they have been useful for me.

I ask you to do something for me – please check yours too – is it up-to-date? Please do not wait for a rainy date to prepare yourself for a mental health emergency!

Woman, Girl, Rain, Water, Umbrella, Wet
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10 thoughts on “Start This Year By Preparing A Mental Health First Aid Kit”

  1. I feel like most of my life is a mental health emergency…

    Maybe I should try this idea. My first reaction to reading this was “I don’t know who to call when I’m feeling down, No most of my friends have moved away and no one ever wants to talk to me when I’m down.” But I think putting something down before I’ve tried it isn’t the best approach here…

    Like

    1. Hi Greg, I am going to share something with you. When I was in the grip of a highly stressful situation some years ago – when almost everyday for two years I had been teased, taunted, tormented and trolled over my connection with Jack (and there was nothing going on between us at that time) I did not know who to call, who to speak to about my feelings. I did not want to burden my family, plus I did not realize how much the situation was hurting me. I tried to talk about it with some friends, but they responded with humour instead of checking on how I was really coping. Attempts to talk to someone did not work well at all. So I found myself in a very dark place and not knowing who I could call. At that point I had sort of lost my senses, and when I went to a park alone, I was so immersed and overwhelmed by my emotions I did not notice that the sun had faded and the park had emptied. That was the night I was the victim to a heinous crime.

      I would not have been there on my own that late at night if it was not for my despair at the situation that had been eating away at my joy in life and robbing me of self-esteem and dignity for so long. It had effected all of my friendships and working relationships.

      As I look back, I realize that I should have found someone mature I could go to in order to talk openly. In my case, it those in my social circle were not reliable to talk to about how despairing I was feeling. I learnt there are some people who just do not get how to talk about deep feelings and disturbing thoughts. So finding people who have that maturity and experience (they don’t need to be your best friends or people you socialize with) and having their contact details so that if you are ever overwhelmed you can alert them…it is a very wise idea.

      I am going to publish a post next week about this particular aspect of a mental health first aid kit and share a little more about why I think it can be a critical aspect of being prepared for unforeseen distressing situations.

      Liked by 1 person

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