St John launches mental health first aid courses

St John has unveiled a new initiative to help equip Kiwis to handle a mental health crisis.

It has launched new mental health first aid courses across the country aimed at providing participants with the skills to respond to a mental health crisis.

"We just feel like it's the right time to start having a conversation about mental health," programme and development manager Gabrielle Wildbore told The AM Show.

"We cover a bit around mental health crises as well and how to keep yourself safe when you're responding to those situations. We give people a framework to be able to help."

Ms Wildbore said the courses would aim to teach participants how to recognise the signs of mental distress and respond appropriately.

"We will teach you to recognise the signs of mental distress and know how to help. We cover the mental health continuum, which is something we all go up and down daily, weekly and monthly," she said.

Recalling the information is important, so St John has come up with the listen to your HEAD acronym, similar to doctor's ABCD, which is used for physical health.

H means hazards and ensuring you're safe, E is for engaging and opening up conversation, A is for acting and knowing where to go for help and D is for debrief and assessing the situation afterwards.


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