Health and Safety – Is there a first response app for training Staff during lockdown?

First Responders – Mental Health Awareness Training: This topic came up recently in a discussion. I was asked if there was an online course or app health and safety staff could use for immediate training while the lockdown is on.

An Organisation called Coliberate offers one such app.  The First Responder Course has been endorsed by the Police, Army etc.   Despite the cost (expensive),  and the need for 12 hours face to face contact –  6 hours for day 1, and 6 hours for day 2. What you get from the Course is really valuable. It’s also a nationally recognised qualification and and if the numbers are good – they can come to your workplace or one of the bigger cities like Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch etc.  The learning outcomes are really relevant too thus:

  • Recognise the signs and signals of distress and developing mental health challenges.
  • Recognise when a person is in significant distress
  • How to keep everyone safe and the right pathways of professional support.
  • Understand the different kinds of professional services available and where to access them.
  • Know who to contact for emergency assistance.
  • Understand how to be the best advocate for someone in their recovery journey.
  • Have an understanding of language that is helpful and language that is unhelpful when responding to mental distress .
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between mental health, mental illness, mental distress, and wellbeing.
  • Feel confident in implementing the AGLEE action planb.
  • Better understanding of their own boundaries and the importances of debrief and self-care strategies.

As a past consumer of the mental health system in Northland, and currently working voluntarily with business owners who have experienced business loss and the impact on mental health, I would feel comfortable knowing that someone has had this level of training. You also get a comprehensive manual with it.

Regarding the face to face contact component of this Course, and the Covid-19 lockdown, I wonder if a video conference eg via Zoom could be used.  I will follow this up with the organisers and report back here.

Alternatively people can try and google Mental Health First Responder + Udemy and go through the list of courses there (which are more cost effective) and select one that comes close to the learning outcomes of this one offered by Coliberate). But exercise good judgement.  Do some online research as to who is taking a course. Most will be overseas programmes – but these programmes are online.

I think one of the worst things anyone can ever say to someone who is distressed/anxious is ‘calm down.’ In the history of this comment being made to people experiencing anxiety, I have never known such a comment (or similar) being helpful at all.  In fact, all it does is exacerbate/worsen an person’s anxiety.