Each year in the United States, more than one out of every five people experience a mental health disorder. As 'tough' as many people try to act or as composed as they try to present themselves, everyone has a breaking point. Everyone has a threshold of what they can handle, and what goes too far. And it is completely different for everyone. While one person can fight in a war and not experience PTSD, another person could end up in a mental health crisis because their favorite shoes got dirty. What is the difference? One person has been prepared to cope with stress, and the other has a much, much lower threshold.
The good news is that coping skills can be practiced. People in any age range can use time when they are not stressed to practice how they will cope when they are faced with stressful situations. There are also healthy coping skills, and unhealthy coping skills, and it is important to understand the difference.
For people who do end up facing a mental health crisis, it is important for everyone else to understand how to recognize it, and what to do. Mental Health First Aid is a program that teaches people to be mental health "lifeguards" in the community, to watch for people in crisis and be the go-to familiar faces when someone cannot cope anymore. Just like regular first aid, the idea is to help someone with a crisis and prevent it from getting worse until professionals can take over, or to help get people to professionals who can help avoid problems in the future.
Two certified Mental Health First Aid trainers, Dave Rodin, LCSW from Senior Behavioral Wellness, and Stefanie Morris from Perry's education department, joined the Pulse podcast to discuss the MHFA program and how it is that people can end up going through a crisis.