Keeping Safe

The mental health first-aider must always put their own well-being and safety first. Taking care of one’s own health and safety can mean a variety of things depending on the situation.

  • Occasionally, people in a distressed state can become threatening to others due to fear or confusion. If you are in any doubt about your own or others’ safety, move away from the person and call for urgent help.
  • Even when the person appears threatening or unsafe, it is best to remain calm and continue to reassure the person of your concern for their well-being.
  • Be honest with the person. Tell them that you are concerned and are calling for help.
  • Sometimes people who are distressed become very attached to those who offer them help or comfort. As a first-aider, you are not obliged to take responsibility for the person’s long-term well-being and you should not agree to do more than you feel is reasonable. Your decision may depend on your relationship with the person and your own personal situation, but remember that the person’s well-being is not solely in your hands. A first-aider gives initial help before other help is available.
  • Helping a distressed person is stressful and sometimes very upsetting. A first-aider needs to practice good self-care.
  • Remember we are human beings and we cannot fix everything. When things do not go well with a person we are trying to help, it is important that we do not give ourselves a hard time.

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