Encouraging Self-Help and Other Support Strategies During COVID-19
The last E in the Mental Health First Aid action plan stands for Encourage self-help and other support strategies. During this time, it can people can find it hard to become motivated and seek self help. People in the world have family members and close friends who are dying from Coronavirus. The last thing in their minds may be seeking self-help. According to an April 2020 Newsweek support, in the week ending March 21, sales on alcoholic beverages have spiked by 55 percent according to market research firm Nielsen.
I've talked to may people who find help in the bottom of a bottle during this time. I assist by providing self help tricks and tricks for people to use during this time. With the entire world physically shutting down, the virtual world is thriving more than ever. There are many self help groups that are using teleconference capability to meet online. There are groups different groups on the internet that are holding online meetings. Some of these groups are for nothing other than for people to talk. There is no topic, people just talk about whatever comes to mind! It's a great way for monotony of staying bored and indoors.
Encouraging self help first means you must find out what type of mental health issue a person is struggling with. That starts with a conversation with the person to determine what type of help you think someone needs. This is very important because it does no good to provide someone suffering from anxiety with a substance abuse group. It is a great idea to ask the individual who is on their Team of Champions (another blog post of mine). If you talk to someone and they don't know who they can call for help it may be good to provide them local support in the town they are in.
It's important for someone who is certified in Mental Health First Aid to be well connected with groups in the substance abuse/mental health field. These groups are always willing to accept new individuals coming in looking for support. When suggesting these groups to someone it's imperative to NOT make the groups mandatory. Make sure they know that the groups are optional. You shouldn't ask questions like "so when are you going to call?". Trust me the more you push support on someone, the more resistant that person will be to seek self help.
Self help comes in many shapes and forms. For those who are interested in physical fitness, gyms like Planet Fitness has virtual group workouts. This serves two purposes: People can enjoy a great workout while at the same time get social engaged with others. This is perfect for someone who is looking for a little social and physical stimulation. This is a new form of self help that individuals can take advantage of.
We don't know when this is going to be over. The impact on the American economy and people has been devastating. It's more imperative than ever right now that people know what resources are out there. No matter what mental health symptom or substance abuse you are going through, there is a group for it. We will all get through this thing together.