HomeLearnMental Health First Aider: Risk Reduction in Times of Disaster

    Mental Health First Aider: Risk Reduction in Times of Disaster

    The need for Mental health risk reduction is now more important than ever before. 1 in 5 people in the US will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime, and mental health issues are on the rise globally.


    Mental Health First Aid is one of the skills essential nowadays. Whether you have a medical credential, you can make a career from it. 

    You can have a background and be a certified worker who can perform mental health first aid for disaster victims. 

    One of the courses you can apply for as a post-graduate degree is a Master of Mental Health online.


    This course will teach how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The course is designed for anyone who wants to learn more about mental health. 

    A person who completes the course will have critical skills in how to support mental health patients. As well as, their family and friends will be given aid to know how to cope.

    Mental health risk factors during disasters

    Factors that increase the risk of mental health problems during disasters include:

    – Previous mental health problems


    – History of trauma or abuse

    – Lack of social support

    – Poverty

    – Homelessness


    – chronic physical health conditions

    What is Mental Health First Aid

    Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based program that has been shown to:

    •  Reduce stigma around mental illness
    •  Improve participants’ mental health literacy
    •  Increase participants’ confidence in providing help to others

    Anyone can be a victim of a disaster, and facing the impact puts a toll on one’s mental state. Anyone can be the victim of typhoons, earthquakes, fire, and even health disasters like living through a virus outbreak or poor living conditions. Disasters are not only climate or environment-related. There are also risk reduction plans that a State employs to face health risks in a community.

    Mental health first aid principles

    Disaster mental health first aid is the help given to a person who is developing a mental health problem in the aftermath of a disaster. It is similar to regular first aid but with a focus on mental health.


    The key principles of disaster mental health first aid are as follows.

    Listen and support

    Listening to someone who is struggling after a disaster can be helpful. It can help them to feel heard and understood. It can also help to identify people who may need more support.

    Protect and connect

    People with mental health problems are more likely to be affected by disasters. They may find it harder to cope and may be at increased risk of harm.

    It is important to protect people with mental health problems during disasters. This includes ensuring they have access to safe places, food, water, and medical care. It also includes providing social support and connecting them with mental health services.


    Encourage self-help

    Disasters can be overwhelming. Encouraging people to do things that help them to feel better can be helpful. This includes things like:

    – Eating healthy foods

    – Getting enough sleep

    – Exercising


    – Spending time with friends and family

    – Practicing relaxation techniques

    Enrolling in mental health courses online

    If you or someone you know is struggling after a disaster, there are mental health courses online that can help. These courses offer support and information on how to cope with mental health problems. They can also help to identify people who may need more support.

    Importance of mental health professionals during disasters

    People who have experienced a disaster may feel scared, confused, or angry. They may have trouble sleeping or eating. Some people may feel like they are in shock. 


    It is crucial to lead someone to get help from a mental health professional or a support group.  

    It’s essential to be aware of the signs of mental health problems and get help if you need it.

    Reduce the impact of Disasters on Mental Health

    There are things professionals can do to help reduce your risk of developing mental health problems after a disaster.

    Identifying triggers


    A professional in mental health will follow steps to help a victim cope with the mental battle. They will not prescribe medicine right away. But they will help the person know what triggers them to be anxious, depressed, or angry. 

     Help others who are struggling after a disaster.

    If you know someone who is struggling after a disaster, there are things you can do to help. You can: 

    – Listen to them and offer support


    – Help them find professional help or a support group

    – Offer to go with them to appointments

    – Help them with practical tasks, such as getting groceries or cleaning up their home

    – Check in on them regularly


    Create Disaster Plan

    Experts will also learn how to devise a disaster plan. Communities or private organizations come to help by providing disaster plans to an affected community. 

    This is where skilled mental health workers come in. They got the knowledge and theory-based practices to come up with effective recovery and disaster plans.

    So what should be included in a disaster plan? Your disaster plan should include evacuation routes. It also must have counselling and debriefing sessions to perform during the evacuation.

    Why is it important to have a disaster plan?

    A disaster plan can help you and your family be safe and know what to do during and after a disaster.


    One of the key pieces of advice from experts is to stay connected with loved ones and your community after a disaster. This can help you feel supported and less alone. There are many ways to stay connected, such as: 

    – Calling or texting family and friends

    – Joining a support group

    -Connecting with people online


    – Going to community events

    – Volunteering in your community

    Professional help for coping after a disaster

    If you’re struggling to cope after a disaster, professional help can be very helpful. Mental health professionals can provide support and treatment for mental health problems. There are also many support groups that can help you connect with other people who have been through similar experiences.

    Community’s recovery effort

    Mental Health has a vital role in their community. Planning for recovery helps mental health professionals to think about how they can be involved in their community’s recovery effort. This may include volunteering, donating money or supplies, or helping to spread information about mental health and recovery.


    Depression and Mental health workers

    Depression is a mental health disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy activities you once enjoyed. 

    Depression can also lead to physical problems, such as headaches, body aches, and digestive issues. Those who have this need professional help and not just giving them advice, which often induces more harm.

    This is the reason why professionals who are trained to talk and deal with dressed patients are crucial.

    How to deal with and get rid of depression?

    An expert’s job is not to get rid of depression. But what they are skilled at doing is helping a patient manage their emotions, responses, and behaviour. 


    That said, it is no job of a friend or family to heal a loved one going through a mental illness. 

    One cannot simply advise or encourage a depressed person to be happy. The best response is to lead someone you know struggling to an expert. Or be the one to reach out and give the help they need. You can start by learning mental health courses to become a certified first aider.

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