Monday 10 October 2016 marks World Mental Health Day which is observed on the same day every year with the objective of raising awareness of mental health issues.
The theme this year is “psychological first aid” which covers both psychological and social support particularly relating to people who find themselves in a helping role such as teachers, firemen, community workers, or police officers. The term was first coined in the 1940’s but its use has increased in modern day crisis events.
The profile of the day will be raised by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry who will be attending a Heads Together event in London where they will meet people who have benefitted from the support of friends, relatives or colleagues at crucial moments in their lives as well as speaking to those who provided the support.
Heads Together is a partnership between charities which provide front-line mental health support and aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, in tackling stigma, raising awareness, and providing vital help for people with mental health challenges. Globally it is necessary to ensure that when a crisis event occurs the humanitarian response includes timely mental health support. However, all around us in our daily lives people are experiencing personal crises such as bereavement, illness, abuse or violence and as solicitors we ourselves regularly encounter clients who need support. Learning the basic principles of psychological first aid helps provide support to people who are very distressed, and, importantly, to know what not to say. It includes listening, but not pressuring people to talk; comforting people and helping them to feel calm; helping people connect to information, services and social supports and protecting people from further harm.
Further information can be found on the World Health Organisation website