Chris Van Es

Salud mental para todos

MELBOURNE – Una noche de primavera de 1997, cuando yo era investigador de salud mental en la Universidad Nacional de Australia en Camberra, discutía con mi esposa, Betty Kitchener, una enfermera registrada que daba cursos de primeros auxilios para la Cruz Roja en su tiempo libre, lo inapropiada que era la capacitación tradicional en primeros auxilios. Esos cursos por lo general ignoran las emergencias de salud mental, dejando en manos de participantes mal equipados la tarea de ayudar a gente que lidia con pensamientos suicidas, ataques de pánico, estrés postraumático, los efectos del alcohol o el consumo de drogas, o una percepción cada vez menor de la realidad.

Betty conocía de primera mano las potenciales consecuencias de esta falta de conocimiento. Cuando tenía 15 años, experimentó un episodio de depresión aguda, que culminó en un intento suicida. Pero su familia y maestros no supieron reconocer el problema, de modo que no recibió ningún apoyo o ayuda profesional. Esta falta de tratamiento temprano perjudicó su recuperación y así fue que siguió experimentando episodios de depresión durante toda su vida.

Para ayudar a garantizar que la gente no tenga que sufrir en soledad como le había sucedido a Betty, resolvimos crear un curso de capacitación en primeros auxilios en salud mental en nuestra comunidad local. Tres años más tarde, cuando Betty redujo su empleo pago para desarrollar la capacitación en Primeros Auxilios en Salud Mental, finalmente pudimos lanzar el curso.

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