In my previous post which you can access here, I mentioned that mental health awareness training for people working in nonclinical settings supporting those with mental health illnesses is really important. In this post I will focus on the specific reasons why mental health awareness training is very important.
Three reasons I believe mental health awareness training is really important is as follows:
- Firstly it can create a greater sense of empathy in those supporting people with a mental health illness. We are more likely to demonstrate understanding if we have an awareness of what someone is going through and be less dismissive. For instance if I am supporting someone with schizophrenia and I have a good understanding of the possible symptoms she may experience, I will be more empathetic towards her if she behaves erratically due to the impact of the illnesses symptoms.
- Secondly an understanding of the illness I am supporting someone with will empower my ability to converse with the person. Imagine two support workers supporting someone with bipolar. One of them has a good overview understanding of bipolar and the other doesn’t. Both support workers able to equally communicate with the person. There is a higher possibility that the person with more knowledge if the illness will have a more enriched conversation with the person because they will be able to listen and ask questions based on knowledge.
- Finally good mental health awareness means we can better discuss with third parties involved in the support of people we are working with. Imagine you are supporting someone in the middle of the night and you need to call an emergency helpline for support. If you don’t have an awareness of the illness you may not be able to asnswer basic pre-questions that will make the helpline’s response more effective.
These are some of the reasons why I believe mental health awareness training is important for supporting people with mental health conditions in a nonclinical way. I’m sure there are more reasons.