Because of recent concerns about increased suicide rates and instances of other mental health problems in the greater Bhutanese community, BCAA sponsored training in mental health first aid at the Patterson Park Community Center on May 7, 2016. This training gave participants an overview of common mental health problems, introduced them to a mental health action plan, and gave them ideas on how to be proactive in preventing crises and how to react to a person who is in crisis.
Two experienced teachers, Ashok Gurung and Sona Shilpakar, came to the Patterson Park Community Center in Akron, Ohio to present a day-long course for 30 participants. BCAA provided a lunch catered by the Nepali Kitchen.
After participates completed a Pre-Course Questionnaire about their previous knowledge of, and experience with, mental health diseases they experienced a variety of lectures, exercises, and readings. They learned that
* an estimated that 1 in 5 of Americans will have a diagnosable mental health problem in any given year
* a mental health first aid action plan is needed
* it is important to understand depression and anxiety
* anxiety, depression, substance use, bipolar, eating, and schizophrenia are the more common forms of mental disorder
* some of the terms used to describe mental health problems include mental disorder, emotional disorder, emotional distress, psychiatric illness, mental illness, nervous exhaustion, mental breakdown, nervous breakdown, and burnout.
It was interesting to learn from the following chart that mental illness affects more people than other, more recognized, diseases in North America.
In one exercise, participants were given a card with the name of a mental illness and then asked to arrange themselves in the order of severity of the disease on their card. It was a good way to learn this material.
Participants appreciated the opportunity to learn about mental illnesses and how to identify situations in which they might be able to provide assistance.