Hilda Marie’s worst nightmare was unfolding right before her eyes. Teetering at the edge of the platform was a woman poised to jump in front of an oncoming train. What would you do?
For Hilda, there was no question. She turned to the skills she learned in the eight-hour Mental Health First Aid class she completed. She contacted the station manager to secure help and calmly talked to reassure the woman until help arrived. Her actions saved a life that day.
Mental Health First Aid doesn’t teach you to be a therapist. It equips you to recognize signs of distress and guide a person toward appropriate treatments and other supportive health care. It teaches you how to help someone who is in crisis and how to be a support to someone struggling with mental health or substance use disorders.
And as Hilda learned, it also teaches you how to keep a bad situation from becoming a crisis.
Suicide is more common than you think. Someone in this country dies by suicide every 12.8 seconds, according to the most recent statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It could be a daughter struggling with the academic and social pressure of high school or a friend who is going through a divorce or a co-worker who is about to lose his job.
So what do you do if you think someone is considering suicide? Simply put, get a dialogue going. Fast!
Unfortunately, we cannot prevent all suicides, but if more of us learn what to look for and how to act, each of us can make a difference and maybe save a life.
Dear Mrs. Hilda,
An incident happened in NYC on Feb 10th, 2016 in the NYC Subway Station. I was walking and saw a young lady was crying and screaming loud. While everyone just looked and walked by, I had to stop to assist her. She said ” my sister ( age 25) and two children (6 months and 1.5 years old) were just killed by her boyfriend”. I am a new psychology major (BA) and had not one clue what to do. She then fainted in my arms and no one was around to help. Suddenly, she came to and I escorted her to where the bodies lay to be identified at the hospital. I am a mother of 3 children and my body became frozen. I keep myself together and held back my tears, because she needed me to be strong for her. During the train ride she keep saying “I’m going to kill myself”, so I just held her tight and close to me until the arrival at the hospital were family members were waiting for us.
From seeing your testimony, I will receive more formal training and will look forward to taking this class in addition to my studies. I truly have experienced a traumatic experience and have concluded that Mental Health is a serious issue that shouldn’t be taken lightly!
Thank you so much for sharing. You really never know when you’re going to encounter someone in crisis. I’m sure your support in a moment of intense tragedy meant so much to that woman and her family. To find a Mental Health First Aid course near you, use our “Find a Course” tool here: http://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/cs/take-a-course/find-a-course/
All the best.