Research tells us that one in five Australians aged 16 to 85 experiences some form of common mental illness in any year, the most common being anxiety disorders (affecting 14.4% of Australians).
With recent events such as drought, storms, bushfires and the current pandemic, it is probable that more of us will struggle with mental health issues. We should be quite clear that there is no shame in acknowledging we have a mental health problem, no more so than stating we suffer from arthritis or hay fever!
In our Safe Church training, we often touch on issues of well-being and mental health. We explore how we might support and show love to congregational members, and others in our communities, who are experiencing mental health issues.
If you are like me, you might wonder how to do this. What do I say? Can I ask that? What shouldn’t I say? What support services are available? What is it like for a person with this problem?
Mental Health First Aid Australia is a not for profit organisation which aims to provide all people in the community with skills to support those with mental health problems and it offers training courses through accredited trainers. In doing so it increases awareness of mental health issues and breaks down stigmatising attitudes.
Recently I completed a Mental Health First Aid course. I found this to be a very worthwhile experience. As a result, I am better informed and feel more empowered to help others.
The course I did was a general course, but there are some that address issues faced by specific groups of the population such as youth and teens. Courses are available online (as well as face to face when restrictions are not in place). There are a number of organisations which offer the MHFA accredited training – fees vary.
I highly recommend Mental Health First Aid courses to all LCANZ members as a way of supporting each other and “bringing love to life”.
Denise Muschamp – Professional Standards Officer, Victorian Tasmanian District
For more information go to the Mental Health First Aid Australia website https://mhfa.com.au/