Mental Health First Aid

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15 minute discussion session on Mental Health. Designed to fit alongside the physical health bits of the Emergency Aid Stage Badge. Easily adaptable to take as much time as you have.




__ Sources __
Most of the information here came from the and the website.

__ Setup __
In a small group of 6-10 sit in a circle. The leader will read most of the text below, but let the Scouts think of answers to the questions and discuss them as necessary.

__ Leader Notes __
**note** If Scouts share their own mental health problems let them know they can talk to you afterwards. Young Minds have some excellent resources for young people if you need them: Try and facilitate the session so that it is not focusing on personal mental health problems but how we campaign for equality. You might want to mention this at the start, to avoid having to cut off someone who's found the space to open up.

__ Introduction __
Looking after our mental health is as important as looking after our physical health. It’s often overlooked because it’s harder to understand - but just as you might be able to spot your friend limping because they hurt their leg, you might be able to spot them struggling at school because they’re showing symptoms. If you broke your arm, you’d go to the hospital, have an X-ray it and get it plastered. If you have a mental health problem things aren’t as straightforward.

__ Statistics __
First - some statistics to help us understand what we’re talking about:

a. 1 in 10 young people suffer from mental health problems. There are 20 people here on camp with us - so it’s likely that a few people here are going through something difficult right now.
b.Two thirds of people with mental health problems don’t receive any treatment or support.

__ Questions __
1. What triggers mental health problems?
Just like physical illness, sometimes mental illness just comes and passes (like a cold comes and goes). Other-times it can be triggered by an event in that persons life (like a bike-fall can lead to a broken arm).
a. Nothing - sometimes emotions get difficult and we
b. Bullying
c. Trouble at home (fighting parents/siblings, divorce)
d. Bereavement (loss of a loved on - family member, friend, even a pet)
e. Peer pressure (not fitting in, being pushed to try things they don’t want to)

Remember: Just like not every fall leads to a broken foot, these problems don’t always lead to mental health issues - but if you know someone who’s been through any of these situations - talk to them. Especially if they may have struggled with several problems at one.

2. What might be the symptoms of someone who’s struggling?
a. A change in personality
b. Not coming out to play any more
c. Being reclusive - not sharing or talking much
d. Not enjoying life

3. How can you help somebody?
If you think someone might be having a hard time in life - how can you help them? Don't forget the first rule of First Aid - stay safe and look after yourself .In a moment we'll talk about looking after our own mental health too, because we can't help someone if we're not looking after ourselves too. Speak to your parents, teachers or Scout Leaders if you're worried about somebody.
a. Ask them how they are - just asking lets them know you care and might start a conversation. You'll probably find it hard to understand - tell them you'd like to understand.
b. Keep inviting them out to play.
c. Listen to them and accept that what they say is what they feel. If they tell you that it made them unhappy because they didn’t pass a test don’t tell - them they shouldn’t be sad or that it’s nothing to be upset about. Instead ask them why it felt that way.
d. Ask open ended questions to give them the space to speak. Don’t say “Do you feel lonely?” but ask them “How do you feel?”

4. How can you help yourself? What can we do to help keep our mental health in good condition?
Just like we might ride a bike to exercise our muscles - how can we exercise our mind?
a. Talk about our feelings - sharing our feelings with a friend, parent, teacher or leader helps us to make sense of the jumble of human emotion going on in our head.
b. Be “in the moment” from time to time - stay in touch with how you’re feeling and how the things you do make you feel.
c. Exercise - it’s good for your physical health, but also your mental health. Especially if you’re spending time outdoors.
d. Try new things - it stimulates your curiosity!
e. Find meaning - do things you care about. The feeling of purpose will help ground you in life.
f. Acceptance - be kind to yourself when things go wrong. Focus on what you do have aor what you’ve achieved instead of what you could have or could have achieved.
g. Write a diary or journal to help you put your feelings (whether good or bad) into private words.

__ Question 5 __
5. We speak to our GP, call 111 or 999 for a medical emergency - does anyone know how to speak to an expert about mental health?
a. Our GP (and 111 in certain areas).
b. MIND - the mental health charity.
c. Childline - is a free service you can contact if you're under 19 years old. You can talk to them about anything day or night and the helpful people will try and help you. You can phone them, chat on their website or email them. You don't even have to tell them who you are if you don't want - they're just there to help.
d. Samaratins - is a free phone number you can cal if you're over 18

__ Summary __
Mental health isn't something which society thinks about as much as physical health but just like it's important to brush our teeth or get a bone fixed if it's broken, it's important to our health to look after our emotions too.

When we take care of our mental health, we're able to feel better and enjoy life more.

__ Any Remaining time __
Does anyone have any questions? Discuss. Try and end on a positive note.


  • first aid
  • mental health

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