The rise in mental health issues in the general population has seen numerous support mechanisms to be formulated. But one aid that seems to be gaining traction on social media is mental health first aid kits – personalized collections of items that can make everything seem better.
An invisible condition?
When we have a cold, external signs tell others around us that we are unwell or are struggling with an aspect of our physical health.
When we suffer with our mental health, as one in four of us do in the UK, we learn that while we might always suffer from a mental illness, we won’t always feel it at the forefront of our minds. On very good days, we might barely experience any symptoms at all.
Recently, some social media users have been using these good days to put together first aid kits for the days when they’re struggling with their mental health. These kits serve many purposes in the healing and comfort needed on bad days. The kits typically include sensory tools, toiletries, medicines, and small reminders of love and comfort.
Should I make one of these kits myself?
It can be hard to know what to do if you’re struggling with your feelings. Your first aid kit is there to help make things easier. Any good mental health first aid kit should include the following –
- ways to distract yourself
- what you can do to relax or calm down
- items that have helped you feel good in the past
- who to talk to if you need support.
Everyone is different, so your first aid kit should be unique to you. Think about what’s helped in the past or what you want to try. There are no rules to say what goes in your own first aid kit – you can include whatever you want.
What goes in these kits?
Psychologists from the NHS Shropshire Community Neuro Rehab Team recommend choosing several items that “make you feel good” for what they call an “emotional first aid kid.”
These items can include such things as a CD, a comfy pair of pajamas, some chocolate, a photo album, a poem, a symbol of achievement, or a stress ball. They also recommend making lists of things that help when you are down or overwhelmed.”
Meanwhile, one social media user has tackled this by including mouthwash, dry shampoo, and face wipes in her box. These will all take minimal effort to collect together on a good day, which can be especially helpful with mental illnesses such as depression which can cause a decrease in energy and motivation.