Have you ever experienced a random act of kindness? During a recent backpacking trip, I experienced several. On one hot sunny day, a day hiker offered sunscreen preventing sunburn. On another occasion, my body and spirit were refreshed by watermelon slices offered as we passed through a residential area. Our feet were spared extra miles by a senior citizen at the post office who offered us a ride to a local restaurant. These were all unexpected, but greatly appreciated.
After one of these events, my sister made the comment, “We should purposely practice random acts of kindness.” A discussion of where else we had experienced or participated in random acts of kindness in our lives followed her statement. Most random acts of kindness don’t require a lot of time or cost. It is easy, though, to stay caught up in our own busy lives and not look around to see what is happening in our families’, neighbors’ and, co-workers’ lives.
As I thought about purposely practicing random acts of kindness, Mental Health First Aid came to my mind. Similar to physical first aid, MHFA provides initial help to an individual experiencing a mental health-related crisis. In an MHFA course you learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help in both crisis and non-crisis situations and where to turn for help.
Before you can know how to help you need to know when to help. We call this mental health literacy, or a basic understanding of what different mental disorders and addictions are, how they can affect a person’s daily life and what helps individuals experiencing these challenges get well.
Contact me at (574) 523-2119 for information on upcoming MHFA trainings.
Elkhart County Suicide Prevention Coalition