Group training how to respond in mental health crisis
BLUE ASH, Ohio — It’s not just a first aid kit, but a skill set one group says you should have in an emergency. They’re training people statewide on how to apply mental health first aid.
For decades, Rich Palmer answered calls for help.
“I come from a firefighter background. I worked in public safety for 32 years,” said Palmer.
When he got to the scene as a firefighter, he said the answer wasn’t always so clear.
“We were looking for those things that created the problems we were seeing in our communities, and mental health continued to be one of those problems,” said Palmer.
That’s why he went from applying physical first aid to giving first aid in a different way.
He trains first responders or anyone else who wants to know how to respond if someone comes to you in the middle of a mental breakdown.
“If a family member, a friend, a coworker says, ‘What’s the point? I want to end this,’ We have the opportunity to say, ‘We’re better because you’re here,’” said Palmer.
The training is a part of a program through Mental Health America. The program is called Mental Health First Aiders that’s been teaching groups in Blue Ash and across the state how to approach a mental health crisis since the pandemic in 2020.
“Another step is just to really ask what it is that person feels, you know, not not what you’re afraid of or not what you’ve experienced,” said Palmer.
He also suggests asking questions and getting medical attention if someone is in crisis…that way, he said, it might just save the next person who makes that call for help.
“The overall goal is to reduce stigma and get the conversation out in the open because when we can talk, we can reduce the instances of suicide,” said Palmer.
The group is also planning to roll out the mental health first aiders training program in high schools across the state.
If you or someone you know needs help, click here for more information on resources.