I’ve spent this week learning to be a Mental Health First Aid instructor. Mental Health is such an area of need in the world of Deaf Education, and the resources for our students are limited. When this opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to take it.
This has been an AMAZING training. I really like the way Mental Health First Aid approaches this – as a first aid skill for lay people. It is natural for anyone and everyone to be trained in First Aid and/or CPR training, especially if we are working in the school system. I would like to see Mental Health First Aid become just as natural and commonplace.
After working through the full 8 hour training, we were each assigned a piece of the training to present. We have had the opportunity to go through the training a second time, this time with our classmates presenting and with the national trainer providing coaching after each section. It has been an intense way of learning the materials, but I feel so much more knowledgable about the materials than I usually do after a training.
My section was a challenge for me to present. It was a brief section, but it was so intense. The topic was suicide: questions to ask, steps to take. And I felt compelled to explain that sometimes the right questions are asked and the correct steps taken, and someone we love still dies.
I was able to share the some information about mental health resources for students who are deaf/hard of hearing. They are in a Livebinder of course: bit.ly/deafmentalhealth. I was also able to share the Crisis Text Line Deaf services information: Text DEAF to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis. You can read more about it in the Gallaudet press release.
I hope that as more people are aware of Mental Health First Aid, that they will request the training. The more society is trained, the better chance we have of getting our youth who are experiencing mental illness the appropriate help they may need .