You are currently viewing May is Mental Health Awareness Month-The Steps to Take to Help From the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative

May is Mental Health Awareness Month-The Steps to Take to Help From the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative

According to the Healthiest State Initiative, there are steps you can take to help a friend or family member through a mental health crisis.  A mental health crisis could look like suicidal thoughts and behaviors, self-injury, a panic attack, a reaction to a traumatic event or disruptive/aggressive behavior.

Mental Health First Aid, a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health, recommends the following action plan for someone experiencing a mental health crisis:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm-let them know you are concerned and willing to help. Never leave a suicidal person alone.  Call 911 if there is a medical emergency including an overdose, life-threatening injury or if they are unconscious.
  • Listen non-judgmentally-maintain an attitude of acceptance, genuineness and empathy and be an active listener.
  • Give reassurance and information-treat them with dignity, give consistent emotional support and understanding and hope for recovery.
  • Encourage appropriate professional help-recommend they seek help from a medical provider or other professional support.
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies-encourage exercise, meditation, support groups, family, friends and other social networks.

Mental Health First Aid is offered until treatment and support are received or until the crisis is resolved.  To learn more about the training program – including how to identify signs of a mental health crisis and get more in-depth information of specific mental illnesses – find an upcoming training course near you.

Visit to chat live, text, or call and get reliable information and treatment options, and find nearby help. For more information locally, call the Veterans Memorial Hospital Waukon Clinic at 563-568-5530 to make an appointment with Tara Fink, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.  Tara also sees patients in the Postville Medical Clinic.  Appointments may be made by calling 563-865-7221.