On January 3rd and 4th I was busy attending mental health first aid training. The training is the first of its kind in the US. Started in Australia and now is being adopted in the US. So far only 8 people are qualified to teach this course in the US or maybe worldwide.
Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Mental Health First Aid is offered in the form of an interactive 12-hour course that presents an overview of mental illness and substance use disorders in the U.S. and introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems, builds understanding of their impact, and overviews common treatments. Those who take the 12-hour course to certify as Mental Health First Aiders learn a 5-step action plan encompassing the skills, resources and knowledge to help an individual in crisis connect with appropriate professional, peer, social, and self-help care. [MHFA-USA]
This training was offered to faculty and staff in my university. The objective is for faculty and staff to first learn about some of the behaviors of students with mental health problems and how to talk and interact with them. For example, not every student with multiple absents is necessary a lazy student and students suffering from trauma need some special attention.
Unfortunately, people in the US and in Jordan, but of course more in Jordan, consider a person with mental health issues to be mentally challenged. In Jordan for example any person who goes to counseling or sees a physiatrist is considered crazy, insane or retarded.
I am very fortunate that I got the chance to attend this training. I myself went through some tough depression period that required me to take some medication. Three years ago I went through some very difficult period. Not knowing what is going on with me I didn’t do anything about it. Only after I went to the university’s counseling center and with the help of the mental health center I was able to learn more about myself and return to be the normal me again. I will talk about this in detail later in a different post because I want to talk about it in relation to religion and self-help books. And also, in a more important matter, how mistakenly Muslims deal with suicide and suicidal thoughts.
The big two questions now are:
- When we are going to have such training for faculty and staff in Jordanian universities?
- Would such training put an end to the INSANE and UNEXPLAINED behaviors of our students’ continuous act of campus violence? (According to a Jordanian newspaper in 2011 there were 50 such incidents)
Crazy man talking!
In the news: The Republic