I recently got dispatched on a psychiatric call and I used many of the things I learned in my Mental Health First Aid class. It was a call for a 19 year old female who claimed that FBI agents were sitting in the trees outside her house and were watching her. She said she had smoked marijuana (which was obviously laced with something) two nights ago and had been up since because there were “lasers” in her room and the “trees were laughing” at her.
She seemed to be receptive to what I had to say because I’m also a young female and I was the only one who was calm throughout the entire process. She kept asking people if they believed her, and because I took the class I knew not to take the attitude that she’s crazy and no one sees what she sees and certainly not lie to her. When she asked me if I believed her, I said, “I have no reason not to believe what you’re saying is or is not the truth.” I also tried my best to keep her calm because every time she got all worked up, the other EMTs and cops got all worked up, and vice versa. It was circular behavior that wasn’t benefiting anyone, so I took her aside and away from the guys and spoke to her. I expressed how concerned I was about her and thought it best that she go to the hospital. She said she believed me, but wanted to talk to her dad before she made any decisions. I told her that she certainly could talk to her dad, but I was sure he’d tell her to go to the hospital with us because he cared about her, too. I also explained that if she got too aggressive with us, the police would be forced to physically restrain her and that she definitely did not want to have to go through that. She eventually consented to go with us…overall I was able to keep her calm.
I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to pass along the valuable knowledge and skills that it takes to deal with mental health issues. I’ll forever remember the things I learned.
Sarah L, EMT in NJ