Mental Health First Aid for Older Adults

First Aid

Have you heard of Mental Health First Aid?  It is an eight-hour course designed to help individuals learn about risk factors and indicators of mental health concerns. The course has been taken by a wide array of people, from human resource employees, first responders, students, and teachers.

If you choose to participate in a Mental Health First Aid program, you will learn about a variety of mental health topics. Some topics covered include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, depression, trauma, psychosis, and substance abuse issues. If you are concerned that these or other issues are present in your life or that of someone you love, reach out to talk to a counselor about paths to healing.

Indicators of Depression

While everyone experiences feelings of sadness, depression might be in play if someone is feeling low and sad for over two weeks. In these instances, the depression can interfere with the individual’s ability to successfully manage day-to-day life, including personal relationships and professional commitments.

In older adults, depression is often undiagnosed and untreated. Part of this may be because depression can manifest differently as we age. For instance in seniors depression could result in physical aches, fatigue, sleep issues, and choosing to remain isolated from friends and family.

There are paths to healing. Many find a way to a productive and gratifying life when they learn to manage their depression through supportive counseling sessions. Some combine these sessions with medications for the best results. Many also find relief through self-help strategies. For instance, try bringing self care into your days. Schedule time for regular exercise and time to practice meditation and gratitude for optimal mental health.

Starting a Conversation About Mental Health

If you suspect someone you love is struggling, bring it up. It can be difficult to know how to open up a conversation, but it can bring healing. When someone has a physical issue, friends and family members can point to the symptom, but mental health is often unseen and can be difficult to address.

Start simple, a conversation about mental health issues doesn’t have to be dramatic and difficult. Think about showing the individual you are concerned about your support by asking how they are feeling. Take a walk together. While strolling, let them know you are concerned and your concern comes from a place of love, not judgement.

If you work in a setting where you are responsible for a group of people, Mental Health First Aid might be a good fit for you. After all, it is common in workplaces for staff to be trained in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). CPR training is typical because the technique has been shown to save lives when there is an emergency. People want to help individuals during a physical health crisis. While this is true, doesn’t it stand to reason that you’d want to help individuals during a mental health crisis as well?

Every person and situation is unique. Reach out and connect today. Talk through your options and find the best solution for you and those you love.

Kendall Van Blarcom is a senior helping seniors. Contact Van Blarcom Consulting today for help with your personal problems. Or, reach out to provide support for an older adult in your life.

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M.,