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Cameron’s first-hand experience with the course
For the last two weeks, I was fortunate to attend an online training course centralized on community management mental health. The course runs through Safe in Our World and works on giving Community Managers clear frameworks, guidance, and insights to deal with the challenges that we face in the role.
So you may be asking, why mental health first aid?
Well quite simply put, the goals of mental health first aid are to preserve life, recognize and support others in distress or crisis, and look after our own wellbeing. Having strong action plans such as RESPOND, practical skills to be able to effectively set boundaries, and the ability to provide non-clinical medical health support go a long way to helping take care of a community’s wellbeing.
You may be asking, what is RESPOND?
The RESPOND action plan is an easy-to-remember step-by-step guide aimed at supporting Mental Health First Aiders in underlining and identifying what their focus should be so that they can give the best kind of support without stepping into diagnosis. Our intent is to help support the person, not take over and solve their challenges. The RESPOND action plan consists of:
R – Recognise
Spot the signs of change in a person that may indicate they might be struggling or even in a crisis. Avoid making assumptions and stay open.
E – Engage
Start a conversation. Show the person that you’re concerned and that you’d like to help. Be sensitive to time and place and allow them to lead the conversation.
S – Support
Listen and communicate without judgment. Make time. Choose the right location.
P – Provide
Guidance – but not advice. Give information and encourager clinical support.
O – Offer
To help plan what they will do to take action. What other support can the person call upon? Friends, colleagues, family?
N – Next Steps
Developing their support network. Are you part of their recovery? How can you support the person further?
D – De-stress
Look after your own wellbeing. Use techniques to tackle unhealthy stress and increase resilience.
What else does the course cover?
Other than understanding the purpose of mental health first aid and the RESPOND action plan, the course covers a variety of subjects such as:
- Understanding the stigma and discrimination around mental health.
- Recognizing key primary mental health issues.
- Understanding establishing healthy boundaries and roles/responsibilities.
- Gaining conflict management/resolution skills.
- Understanding wellbeing and practical skills to take care of one’s own mental health.
- Developing and understanding emotional intelligence.
- Being able to reflect on challenges in order to influence and direct positive outcomes for the communities you manage.
Why should I take the course?
The role of a community manager can often seem limitless as we act as a jack of all trades. Without clear frameworks and expectations in place, the internal and external demands can feel quite overwhelming. If you’re a community manager looking to strengthen your knowledge and learn best practice in regard to the specific challenges we face then I highly recommend this course.
Speaking from my own perspective these sessions allowed me to really connect with the thoughts and emotions of my peers. I was so grateful to see others share their feelings about the depth of care they had for their communities. I took this course in the early hours of the morning due to the class being based in the UK (myself an Australian), and even though I was extremely tired after I must say that every second was well worth it and every individual I met was warm, kind, and lovely to talk to.
The course is free of charge and is broken down into 4 individual sessions of 3 hours delivered over a two-week period. The content of the course can be triggering for some as it discusses serious topics such as suicide, mental disorders, and more however the entire time I felt the space that was created was incredibly safe and everyone’s opinions shared were welcomed and invited.
You can find more information about the course and registration here.
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