Building a Mentally Healthy Community

by Kerry Hope

A couple of months ago I went on a mental health first aid course and I’ve been wondering how to write this blog ever since… I’m a research coordinator working with the Centre for Predictive Modelling in Healthcare and the Translational Research Exchange at Exeter. The research of our fellows is usually concerned with physical health, however, seeing the knock-on effects of this on mental health, I am very aware of how one is just as important as the other.  Now I’m not a healthcare professional, I have no desire to tell people what to do, and I have limited knowledge about mental health. But in these very uncertain times I don’t want to see anybody suffer, particularly by themselves, so it seems like now is as good a time as ever to write this.

Reacquainting myself with my mental health first aid manual, I came across a poem by Elly Lloyd, a sufferer of depression who writes, “because I know it’s my lifeline; my source of wellbeing and my gift to those around me.”


So, following in Elly’s footsteps, here is a short poem summarising the 5 important steps to recognising and taking action if you suspect someone has a mental health need.

You’re just another human,
but you’re here, so you care
about mental health
so perhaps I can share
these steps to help people
a first aid action plan
to start conversations
and trust that you can
Approach any person,
assess and assist,
Listen, don’t judge
to their lonely crisis,
Give emotional support
and info as needed,
Encourage professional aid,
check advice is heeded,
Encourage self-help
with a family member or friend,
local groups and charities
can also help mend.
Stay safe and remember
the 5 steps of ALGEE,
look after yourself
and those that you see.

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