Most have never seen this acronym. I learned it in my Mental Health First Aid class. This is the acronym for the action plan for anyone dealing with trying to help others with mental or physical distress. Many times those closest to us reveal their problems and we want to help but don’t know how. Here’s an effective action plan.
Action A – Assess for risk of suicide or harm. Is the person having suicidal thoughts or behaviors, or engaging in non-suicidal self-injury like cutting.
Action L – Listen non-judgmentally. This can be hard in a crisis, instead try very hard not to express your own negative judgements. Stay calm.
Action G – Give reassurance and information. Treat the person with kindness and respect and give hope for recovery. Have empathy.
Action E – Encourage appropriate professional help. Refer to resources like mental health care providers. Give ideas where to get help.
Action E – Encourage self-help and other support strategies. Healthy lifestyle, support system, problem solving, belief in taking control of their life.
If someone is out of control and dangerous to you or themselves call 911.
Here’s just a few Helpful Resources:
If you are in NYC call 1-888-NYC-WELL. They will help all age groups.
Suggest going to their personal physician and ask for resources for mental health.
The Balanced Mind Foundation – http://www.bpkids.org
Cyberbullying Research Center – http://www.cyberbullying.us
National Alliance on Mental Illness – http://www.nami.org
American Psychiatric Association Answer Center – 1-888-357-7924
American Psychological Association Public Education Line – 1-800-964-2000
Hope this helps.
As a helper you can get overwhelmed by another’s mental health issues.
As a helper it is perfectly OK to reach out for help too.
As a helper your work is important.