Mental Health Awareness Month 2019

How Mental Health First Aid Helped One Trainee Find Herself

SC Thrive uses The National Council on Mental Health’s Curriculum, Mental Health First Aid, as a training resource across South Carolina. When I went through the training, I just assumed that it was part of my job and maybe someday it would one day help me assist a friend or neighbor. What I didn’t expect was how it would help me personally.

Have you ever just had a tough year or month or week? Did it feel like the world was ending? Did you feel alone even if there were people all around you? I have. Last fall was one of the hardest stretches I can remember: I was in a car accident, an old friend passed away unexpectedly, plus all the normal stress of life and family and friends. It was hard, and I was struggling.

I realized, though, that I knew what was happening. My time sitting in Mental Health First Aid taught me the warning signs of different mental health concerns. Just like my physical body needed therapy after a car accident, my mind needed some help, too. I started talking to my primary care doctor about what I was feeling and how I couldn’t seem to shake the fog of sadness, exhaustion and frustration in my life. We worked through a few options and I expressed my concerns. She helped me figure out what to try first and what I could do if that didn’t work. Best of all, when the first option didn’t work well for me, she helped me follow through with the next plan. That second option ended up helping so much! I started to see things more clearly, to not cry quite so easily and to actively enjoy things in my life that had brought me happiness in the past. There was hope.

So even though I took Mental Health First Aid for work and for others originally, in the end it helped me care for myself most. It helped me feel like it was okay to ask for help. It helped me recognize when something wasn’t quite right without feeling like something was wrong with me.

If you’ve been considering this course, I encourage you to sign up and become a certified Mental Health First Aider in our community. It’s good for everyone; especially you!

–From a Mental Health First Aid Trainee

If you are interested in learning more about Mental Health First Aid Training from SC Thrive or in registering for an upcoming training, visit us at