mental health first aid

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Midwest Book Reviews

Midwest Book Reviews - Harold's Shelf

First Aid to Mental Illness: A Practical Guide for Patients and Caregivers
Michael G. Rayel, MD
Soar Dime Limited
PO Box 1834, Clarenville, NF Canada A0E1J0
ISBN: 0968781659 $19.95, Pages: 166 plus appendices,

To those experiencing minor problems or who have to deal with someone with a mental illness, "First Aid to Mental Illness" can be a Godsend. The whole concept of first aid for the mentally ill seems to have eluded the medical establishment until now. Written for the lay person to help them understand the signs, symptoms and early intervention techniques, it is an invaluable resource.

Initially the book covers three basic frameworks within which first aid is possible. These frameworks are represented by the acronyms CARE, HELP and HEAL. CARE is the initial response and stands for Checking for the presence of the mental illness, Anticipating possible complications, Remedy with early intervention, and Educating yourself about the illness. EAL framework depending on whether you are the caregiver or the patient. The HELP paradigm is for caregivers. It stands for Help patients through the basics of first aid, Empathize generously, Listen actively and Prevent yourself from getting sick. HEAL provides the framework for a patient. It stands for Help youself through the basics of first aid, Encourage yourself, Address the issues and Learn to cope.

After discussing these basic frameworks the book goes into the basics of mental first aid followed with developing coping skills to deal with the illness. Then the rest of the book deals with applying the techniques to specific conditions including depression, mood swings, panick attacks, phobias, obsessive and compulsive problems, trauma, anxiety, psychosis, dementia and others.

Filled with various scenarios to help you learn how to recognize and deal with the ilnesses and concluding with an extensive section on Resources and References it is a valuable guide for everyone.


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