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  • Writer's pictureCommunity Wellbeing San Diego

Mental Health First Aid

Our Community Health Contributor, Courtney Clark, shares her views on Mental Health First Aid:

"While I was in school, I took Basic First Aid and CPR as part of my Health Administration curriculum. Learning how to identify and treat health disorders, first respond to injuries, and handle oneself in a crisis situation – I found all of this to be interesting and invaluable information (especially since my exercise partner was a former EMT, I learned so much!). I found that having this knowledge would better prepare me for an environment where I would be helping people daily, not only as an administrator, but as the first point of contact for a person in need of medical attention.

While taking this class, I also stumbled upon information about Mental Health First Aid, which is a national program that teaches skills to respond to signs of mental illness and/or substance abuse. In a time when self-care and mindfulness has become a norm for maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle, it is easy to forget how, for some people, just getting out of bed in the morning is a Herculean feat. Whether it is these people whose “highs and lows” reach the dramatic ends of the spectrum, — such as people who are dominated by a certain addiction, who cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, or who are constantly staggered by loss — community programs such as Mental Health First Aid are not only beneficial, but might just be the one thing that helps when nothing else does. I have been looking into programs like these, not only because almost every single person on the planet knows someone in some sort of crisis, but because of how important emotional intelligence is in our daily lives. Being able to spot a troubled co-worker or knowing when you need to listen to a friend and NOT provide input – it affects us in every aspect of our lives. It helps bring our attention back to what we are capable of as individuals and as a community."

To learn more about Mental Health First Aid, please visit


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