Are You Okay? Can I Help You?

What type of person are you?  In those “what-if”, crisis situations, how do you think you would react?  Would the Sorting Hat place you in Gryffindor due to your bravery or do you feel like Deadpool: “I’m no hero”?

There is a fascinating and rather disturbing phenomenon in social psychology called theBystander Effect which refers to the inaction of individuals in an emergency situation when there are others present.  There have been numerous studies on this since it was first noted and defined in the early 1960s; this is very well known and established.  Basically, in the face of an emergency, most of us do nothing. We all believe we would not be that person, that we are in the minority who would step up and help or intervene if something seemed off or someone needed help.

Chalk one up for humanity that we all think that about ourselves. However, sorry to say, that’s just not the reality and unfortunately for a variety reasons, we don’t intervene. Instead, we look to see if someone else sees the problem too, if they are going to step forward and then we do it to because we now know it’s truly an emergency.  Or we assume someone else is or will take care of it. Or we worry that this isn’t an emergency and we’re making a fool of ourselves or stepping in when we shouldn’t.

Oh how I want to be that person who sees injustice and acts without thinking, helping others, saving the day.


I want to be one in a million

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to highlight Mental Health First Aid and encourage everyone to get certified, learn more about it and share it with your friends, family and colleagues.

If you haven’t heard about MHFA, it’s a fantastic program that basically provides an answer to…

“What if people were trained in helping mental health crises the same way they are trained to help medical crises with First Aid and CPR?”

MHFA is defined as: an 8-hour course that teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training gives you the skills you need to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing and mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

It has been in the United States for almost 10 years and our friends at the National Council for Behavioral Health have a goal to train one million people in MHFA. If First Lady Michelle Obama found the time to get trained, don’t you think we all can?  You don’t have to be a licensed clinician, work at a behavioral health agency or even have any background in mental health, this training is for everyone. They have special trainings for working with adults, children/youth, veterans, for law enforcement, in Spanish, and others.

National Council Be 1 in a million campaign

I’m lucky enough to work for a company who not just talks the talk but walks the walk.  We serve a variety of health and human services organizations, and our goal is to help them provide better care for the people they serve by improving the quality of care through staff training and development.  We are passionate about this work and our mission and encourage all employees to volunteer and find time to work with, visit and help organizations in our industries.  We have conducted MHFA training on-site for employees and have a fantastic employee wellness program that is always evolving and changing to improve the overall health of our employees.  Many Relians (it’s what we call our community at Relias Learning) worked in the field and/or have personal experiences linked to the industries we serve.  Regardless of our backgrounds, we all have a passion for these industries, of helping others and making the world a better place.


Roland the Relian and ALGEE, the MHFA Koala

Roland and ALGEE the MHFA Koala

Roland and ALGEE

Relias has a mascot just like MHFA does.  And they like each other, they work together, they are all about making the world a better place one person, one organization, one community at a time. We have similar goals, get along, and help each other out.

See how they work together to make the world a better place (you should have seen it before, a total mess, chaos if you will, all sorts of wee Lego people needing help!):

Maybe you’re not saving entire cities or rebuilding communities, but each person every day can help and make a difference in someone else’s life. We don’t have to be an apathetic bystander who believes someone else will help or that we’re getting in the way or being nosy if we step forward.

roland and ALGEE

In the end, MHFA is simply about being someone who always stops and says “are you okay? Can I help you?” when you see someone in distress. Doing it even if you’re not sure what’s going on, even if no one else around you does and even if the situation doesn’t seem like an “emergency”. That’s what Mental Health Awareness Month and Mental Health First Aid is all about.


Please share below how you make a difference, small or large, in your community.

Kristi McClure

Strategic Marketing Manager BH/CYF and CH

Kristi has more than 20 years of experience in the health and human service industry, the majority of that time working as a direct practitioner with children, adolescents and adults in both outpatient and residential/inpatient settings. She has worked with Relias for over 10 years, initially working with customers on getting the most out of Relias products, then managing the content products for HHS, and now as the Strategic Marketing Manager for Health and Human Services.

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