Guest Post: Mental Health Comes First
Participants included: Disability Services & Mental Health Manager, Curriculum Program Development Specialist, Early Childhood Education Coaches, Director of Human Resources, Benefits Manager, Director of Program Operations East, North Carolina Direct Services Head Start Administrator, Assistant Head Start Administrator, Early Childhood Education Specialist, Curriculum Coordinator, Family Services Specialist and (8) Center Directors from all North Carolina Direct Services’ centers.
In November, I hosted a training called Mental Health First Aid: Adults. Mental Health First Aid is often referred to as, “First Aid for the neck up”. MHFA is the help offered to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate treatment and support are received or until the crisis resolves. Our North Carolina Direct Services Regional Staff and Center Directors, along with senior leadership from Raleigh, are now certified to recognize and respond to adults who may be experiencing signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, psychosis, substance use disorders, and eating disorders.
What is mental health? “Mental health can be conceptualized as a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her own community,” as defined by World Health Organization.
How Common are mental health disorders? One in five adults have a mental disorder in any one year. A national survey of Americans found that 18.5% of adults (18+) experienced a mental illness in any one year; this is equivalent to 43.8 million people.
Source: Mental Health First Aid USA Manual: Adult, First Edition (Revised)
East Coast Migrant Head Start Project is committed to improving the health and well-being of its employees through health education and activities that support healthy lifestyles, which results in improved productivity, morale and well-managed health care costs. We have made staff wellness a priority by creating staff Wellness Champions across the organization that meet every other month to discuss the mission and goal of ECMHSP, new initiative to promote wellness in our regions and centers, and benefits that are offered as part of our employee benefits package.
I look forward to continuing the initiative to see healthier and happier employees!
Tabitha Shelton has been East Coast Migrant Head Start Project’s Disability Services & Mental Health Manager since February 2018. She earned a Master’s in Special Education at Arkansas Tech University.