Approach and Assist
In this series of blog posts, we’re breaking down the Action Plan which forms a pivotal part of the Mental Health First Aid Course and we kick off with probably the most important step, the approach.
The steps are not unlike building a wall. We need to lay down a solid foundation if we want the wall to withstand some elements. That is, we have identified a friend may be feeling Depressed so we need to plan an approach that will allow our friend to feel comfortable to disclose their feelings. If we don’t, chances are the conversation will not end well.
Imagine you are in the office kitchen, surrounded by your colleagues and with an appointment you need to attend in 10 minutes. If you approached them now it is unlikely they would open up to you. They would probably say they are fine and if they did open up, you would have to cut them short to attend your appointment anyway. This would be counterproductive.
So choose a time and place that are conducive to a long conversation. Maybe take them away from the office and keep the phones off so you wont be disturbed. Let them know you are concerned about them and that you want to help. Don’t expect them to respond well the first time. They maybe in denial or they may turn on you. These types of reactions are all normal and to be expected. Just ensure you let them know you will be available if they want to talk and keep the door of communication open.
If in doubt, you can ring the crisis team on 1800 676 822