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Mental Health given ‘First Aid’ at training Castlebar course


Áine Ryan

MENTAL Health First Aid is an innovative service available for everyone and not just those who are having a crisis. So explains Teresa Keane, the Mayo-Roscommon Development Officer for Mental Health Ireland, which is set to run a training course on Thursday and Friday, August 22 and 23 next, in Castlebar.
“Mental health first aid is the help offered to a person who is developing a mental health problem or who is experiencing a mental health crisis, until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves. It follows the model that has been successful with conventional first aid,” said Teresa Keane.
She confirmed to The Mayo News that places for the upcoming course are limited to 20 with the usual fee of €300 being waived for this course. Moreover, Ms Keane said that a similar course could be facilitated in Westport if there were enough people or groups interested.  
Specific groups which would benefit include teachers, youth workers, line managers, customer service staff as well as gardaí, pharmacists, nurses, foster carers, carers or parents, Ms Keane explained.  

Mental illness
According to statistics, every year one-in-four people experience the challenge of a mental illness whether that is depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or post traumatic stress disorder.
“Suicide preventions requires us all to step up and commit to a critical goal, and that is to make sure that people aren’t suffering in silence and that we have the capacity to pull together all the resources and support and love that’s out there to go after an extraordinary challenge in our community,” Teresa Keane said.

She continued: “Most people are afraid to engage with someone who they think may be feeling suicidal because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing, they are afraid of putting the idea in someone’s head or don’t know about the resources out there to help and support the person through the crisis. That’s why training is so important it gives people the confidence to reach out.”
Significantly, recovery is very possible, she added.
“There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love.  We’ve got to get rid of the embarrassment; we’ve got to get rid of the stigma.  Too many Irish people who struggle with mental illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking help, and we need to see to it that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have that same attitude when it comes to their mental health.”

The Mental Health First Aid course will be held on Thursday and Friday, August 22 and 23 next in Enable Ireland, Safari Club, N5 Business Park, Moneen, Castlebar. To register or book a place, please follow the booking link https://mymhfacourse.as.me/HSE-SAFARI-CLUB-CASTLEBAR. Please use the coupon code HSE-MAYO to redeem you free place. www.mhfaireland.ie