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  • Tasha Schuh

Mental Health Awareness Series Part Three: Self-help & Helping Others Strategies

Updated: Jul 3, 2019

In this blog, I want to talk about some self-help strategies that have been proven to help, along with what you should do if someone is experiencing symptoms of a mental illness. As I said in my last blog, it is very important to seek professional help. If someone needs help please follow the guidelines below but always remember that your job is not to diagnose, but to get them to the right people who have been trained and educated in this field.

Self-Help Strategies –Things that young people should be encouraged to try are:

  • Things that interest them: For example, if youth enjoy art or sports they may want to express their feelings through those activities.

  • Encourage a sense of achievement or satisfaction: For example, young people wanting to learn a new piece of music, reaching an athletic goal, or completing something challenging.

  • Are social: Joining a club and making sure to spend time with friends and family regularly.

  • Are likely to be safe: For example, exercise and massage have many positive effects with little risks. However, if the youth has struggled with an eating disorder or obesity, they should get a doctor’s opinion before starting an exercise program.

Other Ideas:

  • Free Meditation/Mindfulness Apps

  • Church, faith, prayer

  • Exercise/Movement

  • Coloring books

  • Laughing with friends

  • Spending time with animals

Helping Others!

If you think that a young person is experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, you should first talk with them and find out how you can help. ALGEE is a Mental Health First Aid Program that provides an action plan for how to help a young person who you may believe is dealing with a mental health crisis. The Mental Health First Aid Action Plan is defined as followed:

A – Assess for risk of suicide or harm

L – Listen nonjudgmentally

G – Give reassurance and information

E – Encourage appropriate professional help

E – Encourage self-help and other support strategies

These actions do not necessarily need to be followed in a certain order. You must use good judgement while using these tactics and remember that it must be flexible to the person you are trying to help. This information would be best used if you have taken the Mental Health First Aid course. I give these suggestions only as a guideline but also should include the training.

Here is the link to more information about ALGEE:

As I mentioned in the first blog of this series, Doug and I took a course on mental health training for both adults and youth this past year. I thought it was a very beneficial and educational experience and would recommend it to everyone.

Here is the link to find more information on taking the course:

Works Cited:

Mental Health First Aid USA: for Adults Assisting Young People. National Council for Behavioral Health, 2016.

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