(adapted from Mental Health First Aid Monthly, June 2022)

Many of us have been eagerly anticipating the season of summer, possibly for a lighter workload and/or for some extra time off—to go on vacation or to have a stay-at-home vacation to accomplish some planned projects.

Unfortunately, mental health challenges don’t take a summer break, and feelings of anxiety can even increase as temperatures rise. We encourage all First Aiders to prioritize self-care this summer so you can continue to #BeTheDifference for the people in your life.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) recognizes that there is a serious mental health crisis in the U.S. A recent survey conducted by the Harris Poll on behalf of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing shows that a staggering 43% of U.S. adults who needed substance use or mental health care in the past 12 months say they did not receive that care, and numerous barriers to access stand between them and needed treatment. That’s why it’s more important than ever for you to continue promoting mental wellbeing in your communities.

In honor of LGBTQ# and PTSD Awareness Month in June, consider becoming a MHFA instructor or encouraging your friends and family to get certified in MHFA to foster deeper understanding and destigmatize mental health challenges. Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, MHFA helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance-use-related challenge or crisis. You’ll learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and substance use challenges, strategies for how to help someone in crisis and non-crisis situations and where to turn for help.

Together, we can make mental wellbeing, including recovery from substance abuse, a reality for everyone.

(MHFA’s website is https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org)