Two days ago I went to a Mental Health First Aid (or MHFA) training. It was an eye opening experience. Just to share the top of the iceberg on what I learned. I learned, the average time a mental issue arises to the time a person seeks help for that problem, is 11 years! I also learned 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness at any given time.
Speaking personally, I have lived through two traumatic events. The first was a familial event in my childhood. Because of this training I realized it resulted in me unknowingly self-harming through hair pulling and keeping my wounds from healing. My second traumatic event happened in the church. I believe it left me with PTSD and minor anxiety and depression. (I use the word minor, but it didn't feel minor when I was going through it. It felt like I was being weighed down into utter darkness with no release.) I was able to find tools to help me, and now I'm recovering. I am fortunate. My recovery might have been easier and got me back to a place of recovery faster, if I had a MHFA certified person there to see the warning signs and get me help.
When I decided to do a movie month I had not put my schedule and my movies together. I had no idea how the clear mental issues of Howard Hughes would play into my MHFA training. There were a few things that stuck out to me.
I can tell you I left the training in a bittersweet mood. Sweet, because now I had actual steps, and a book to help me understand how to talk to someone in mental crisis. I feel more prepared. Bitter, because I feel an even deeper failure from the adults who were supposed to care for me. I'm not mad, because they didn't know they needed to do something. I was just bitter. I'm bitter for me, I'm bitter for Howard Hughes, and I'm bitter for everyone who struggles with mental illness and doesn't know how to name what they are going through. I'm here mostly for you.
And, maybe it's just trauma that didn't result in upsetting a person's mental wellness. I'm here for you.
(MHFA is only training to notice certain symptoms and helping people find the proper help when those symptoms are seen. It does not replace a therapist, medication, or other clinical helps the person might receive.)