What is the Difference Between Physical and Mental First Aid

When an injury occurs at home, at the office, or on the go, most of us will remember to go get the First Aid kit while, for more severe cases, calling the ambulance is necessary. This is why the existence of a First Fid Kit is mandatory for cars and company buildings. This can save lives.

But what happens whit our mental health? The truth is, it is equally important to keep us alive. So, as the stigma around psychological issues is slowly removed, mechanisms are created to help those in need, especially in an emergency.

In the following lines, you will have the opportunity to find out about the characteristics of both of these aids and what you can do to be a good first aider, physical as much as mental.

Physical first aid basics

Physical first aid is also called traditional. It is for sure the first thing that comes to your mind when talking about first responders and helping someone in a life-threatening situation.

It can include a wide range of actions. These can be very basic for not-so-serious situations, like putting a bandage on for light injuries. But they can also be life-saving, like stopping the bleeding by stabilizing the wound until help arrives, giving an allergy medicine to prevent the victim from suffocating, using the AED machine in case of stroke, etc.

Who can provide physical first aid

To give the shortest answer to the question of who can be the first aid provider, it can be anybody. And, it should be everybody because this increases the chances of survival for the victim.

When it comes to minor injuries and wounds, most people will be able to open a First Aid kit and find what is necessary. This is why it is highly recommended to have one and resupply it frequently, even if the law does not mandate it.

As for the more serious problems, one should be trained to come to aid. Medical professionals start their education with this sort of skill, but it is highly recommended that as many people as possible get First Aid and CPR certification. This can be done by attending a course, even online. In these courses, attendees learn to assess what sort of help is necessary and how to provide it until the professional help arrives.

They also learn how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator) as well as how to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). These are necessary when a victim’s heart stops and they very much increase the chances of survival.

Mental health aid basics

The statistics about our mental health are quite alarming: Around one in five adults experiences mental illness each year, while around one in 25 adults experiences a serious mental illness that inhibits the ability to perform basic daily activities. And it is not just adults: one in five children between the ages of 13 and 18 experiences a severe mental illness at some point.

These numbers influence the suicide rate. This is why we need mental health first aid. Similarly to physical first aid, anybody can give a helping hand to a person in a mental health emergency; they just need some basic knowledge and training, if possible.

Who can provide physical first aid and how

Mental first aiders are first responders in an emergency before professional help arrives, just like the traditional ones. So they are not professional mental health workers, but their role can be crucial in saving a life.

Someone who needs this type of help needs the problem to be recognized as well as its depths. It has to be done by a person who can communicate well and show compassion and understanding.

Of course, the best way to provide this sort of aid is to learn how by attending training and courses. So, another similarity with the other kind of first aid we mentioned.

In a mental health first aid course, one will learn the skills to spot the signs of mental health issues and provide the necessary comfort. This type of knowledge will give them much-needed confidence to help.

To conclude

No doubt that both types of first aids are equally important in preserving human lives. But, the biggest difference between these two first aid types must be in the professional help that follows.

With traditional kind, the arrival of professionals is simply inevitable; otherwise, the victim will die. And with mental health issues, the first aider will more often than not have to find a way to explain and persuade the victim they require a mental health expert to save their life.