I didn’t know until being certified as a Mental Health First Aid Adult Trainer in 2016 that mental health and depression in older adults is often ignored or dismissed. I also didn’t know that among the elderly population, aging white males commit suicide in America at a 98% higher rate than all others. I was actually shocked at first but now understand (Colorado State University report). “In the United States, older men of European descent (so-called white men) have significantly higher suicide rates than any other demographic group. For example, their suicide rates are significantly higher than those of older men of African, Latino or Indigenous descent, as well as relative to older women across ethnicities.”
Depression is the culprit, especially for those who have difficulty being as opposed to doing. I consider myself in the category of an older white male who loves living in the moment or being, but also thrives in doing the things I care about.
When my own retirement became a reality, it was very tough to find the the new chapter of doing something that provided me with the same ego fulfilling experience as did my long corporate and business career. I found after experimenting with volunteer work in the community and public service that making a difference for others gave me the balance needed to thrive and preserve a healthy mind and body.
We older Americans, by choice, can map out our lives by being ourselves in the context of all we care about, including pursuing professional and vocational outlets for continued growth and personal rewards.
We can also take in the romance and adventure offered in life by fulfilling your bucket list of the amazing places to visit and explore around the globe or at home. There are so many things to do as we age, assuming our good health is maintained.
For me, getting older is a privilege…many never see the morning sun of old age. We owe to ourselves and others to show the way with our wisdom until the very last day of our lives…
Judy and Steve Sparks, Children and Family Advocates…
Mental Health First Aid USA training in your local community…
For more than 60 years, May has been nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month.
“Mental wellness is essential for peak cognitive and physical performance and ensures the readiness of our service members. Military Health System (MHS) focuses on the mental wellness of service members, their families, retirees, and DoD civilians. We will highlight the tools and resources available for the prevention and treatment of the DoD community’s overall mental wellness.”
I’m pleased to share that Mental Health First Aid training has become a standard in Lincoln County Oregon and all over America! A gift to a caring and healing community culture. As City Councilor in 2015, I was happy to take the lead to bring Mental Health 1st Aid training to our City of Depoe Bay, Oregon with the help of Lincoln County Health & Human Services. This what has happened since then…the early days… We have come along way as a Trauma Informed Oregon community! Technology makes it possible to deliver programs instantly without waiting for a trainer…a kickstart if you will. Take a listen…
Mental Health First Aid
is an in-person training that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis.
Mental Health First Aid teaches you:
Signs of addictions and mental illnesses
5-step action plan to assess a situation and help
Impact of mental and substance use disorders
Local resources and where to turn for help
The State of Oregon is making mental health a top priority going forward with a campaign slogan, “Can’t We Do More?” It is the responsibility of local and county government, private, and public leadership to take advantage of this training. I have written previously in this blog about the need to do more in rural communities for mental health awareness... click on highlighted text for more…
You can make a difference in your own community all year by taking a look at the Mental Health First Aid program for your own needs as a business, school or public service organization. Please review the references and resources available and take action. Mental Health 1st Aid is just as critical as getting training for first-aid best practices in general. Lives are saved through a higher level of awareness of all health and wellness challenges in local communities everywhere.
When I was traineded and certified as a Mental Health First Aid Adult Trainer in the fall of 2016, the increased awarenes changed my life forever. I could not only understand my own behavioral health better, I developed a much higher sensitivity, compassion and empathy for those who suffer among us with mental health challenges. As co-workers, peers, and managers, a little kindness and understanding, a calming influence from a culture of caring in the work place will save lives. In my view, ‘suicide prevention’ is the highest priority in Mental Health FirstAid USA. You can make a difference!