Page 15 - Just Better Care Possible Magazine - Issue 4
P. 15

                                                 When someone falls and cuts their knee, the first aid kit comes out and pressure is placed on the wound while medical attention is sought. People know what to do: they’ve grown up
being told how to react when someone gets injured. But what do you do when someone has a mental health condition and they need help?
Mental health first aid courses have been launched to fill this gap. The uptake of these courses is less common, despite the prevalence of mental health conditions in our society.
What is mental health first aid?
Mental health first aid (MHFA) is about providing support to a person when they are developing a mental health problem, expe- riencing the worsening of an existing mental health problem, or are experiencing a mental health crisis. Similar to traditional first aid, a person on the scene provides support to the person until medical attention arrives or the situation is resolved.
People supporting people
Jamie Painter, North Queensland Coordina- tor for Black Dog Rides and a MHFA instruc- tor, has started delivering the course to staff at Just Better Care Townsville, owned and oper- ated by his wife Mary.
A passionate crusader for raising awareness of mental health and suicide prevention, Jamie became an instructor a few years back follow- ing his involvement with Black Dog Ride. He
is driven by his commitment to reducing nega- tive stigmas associated with mental health.
Jamie wants to find a way to train more Aus- tralians in MHFA, to ensure the many peo- ple living with a mental health condition can always find support, and to let people know they’re not alone.
“I have travelled around Australia with the Black Dog Ride over numerous years and can honestly say that there is a need for MHFA the length and breadth of this beautiful country. Every generation and region experiences its own unique pressures and stresses however, the need for MHFA, just like physical first aid, is universal and ongoing,” Jamie said.
“I have met many people whose quality of lifehasbeenadverselyaffected,notonlybythe lack of understanding of their own situation, but by the lack of understanding and knowl- edge of those around them. The ripple effect is that this also affects relationships, families, employment and the wider community. This is without considering the cost burden to the community.”
Jamie is running regular courses in conjunc- tion with his daughter-in-law Adair, who facil- itates the Indigenous Mental Health First Aid Course. Businesses, groups or individuals in the Townsville area wanting to train in MHFA can visit to find courses in their local area.

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