In my last post, I briefly mentioned how training managers in Mental Health First Aid would be a step towards creating safer environments for artists. I realize that many people may not be familiar with Mental Health First Aid, so I will take today to briefly explain the purpose of the program and how it can be used to help those in the touring industry.
Mental Health First Aid’s website describes the program as an “8-hour course that gives people the skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis.” It provides education about mental health and helps people identify and respond to people in crisis. The class is 8 hours in total, but can be broken down into two 4-hour sessions if needed. The training could be compared to how CPR training prepares someone to handle a physical crisis without specific medical training. Mental Health First Aid provides the same effect but with a mental health or substance-abuse crisis. It is essential to know that whether it is CPR training or Mental Health First Aid training, the point is to provide support until medical professionals are available. You can learn more about what the course specifically covers HERE.
Overall, the training provides individuals with the knowledge and resources to help those experiencing a mental health crisis, which is why I think it would be essential training for leaders or managers of any kind. Especially with the unique circumstances that artists deal with on tour, it would be valuable for artists to have someone with intimate knowledge of the industry as well as crisis training to lean on when things get difficult. The manager tends to have the closest relation with the artists and embody a parental role in the way that they are responsible for handling disputes and disagreements amongst the artists. Adding crisis training to their management toolbox would be a valuable asset for them to help artists and crew while on tour.
Mental health struggles and crisis situations are often met with feelings of being alone and misunderstood. Not only does crisis training provide a valuable resource for helping someone in a crisis situation, but it also opens the door for more mental health conversations on a day to day basis. More conversations leads towards a healthier and safer environment for everyone involved, which is the overall goal. Taking the step to train even a single person on a tour is a step in the right direction and will begin a movement towards a better future for the touring industry.
If you would like to learn more about Mental Health First Aid, you can visit their website HERE. If you would like to find out if a course is being held near you, click HERE to visit their course finder.