Radical Mental Health First Aide

join a movement that is radically reimagining how care is accessed and co-created.
I'll tell you a little care-fession (care + confession): for most of my life, I did not care for care. I would tell myself stories about my need to handle crises alone, stories about the benefits of being able to handle almost anything, stories about my strength and resilience. I don't live life like that anymore and have so much grief and gratitude connected to the years I lived without radical mental health care. 
radical mental health is about community. radical mental health is about people of the global majority. radical mental health is about liberation. Radical Mental Health First Aide (RMHFA) is mutual aid. RMHFA is harm reduction. RMHFA is non carceral. RMHFA is imbued with the energy and spirit of Teranga (“we invite you in with open arms. what affects you, what ails you, what reinforces you also affects me and my community. you are not alone. we breathe as one.”). for us, by us. RMHFA is for the people, communities, and businesses that want to give, receive and co-create care. parts of you know its possible, allow Joko Wellness support you with the how.
picture this: you're at work, the park or public transportation and someone has just started crying/screaming loudly. a part of you wants to do something but you don't know what to do or where to start. a part of you wants to say something but you're worried about saying the wrong thing. you also talk yourself out of doing anything because you tell yourself things like "they should take that to therapy", "you might say the wrong thing" and "they're probably fine". questions pop like: what should I do? will someone else step in? how am I even going to help? what's my responsibility? you, like many, choose to look away and do nothing. a heartbreaking reality. 
as the mental health crisis persists and people continue (and reasonably fail) to try and survive racial capitalism, licensed therapist and observer-disruptor oumou has seen therapy continue to be out of reach for many people – especially those that are multiply marginalized. Radical Mental Health First Aide (RMHFA) is a framework and tool to support you as you make attempts to decenter the medical model from the way you access care, support, love or whatever words you and your community prefer. 
Radical Mental Health First Aide was created in October 2022 by oumou and has been facilitated to over 1200+ people. join oumou and the Joko Wellness team for this offering. these workshops will offer you some context on the impact of oppression and social injustice on the body-mind and teach you de-escalation and consent skills. we will go over the RMHFA Action Plan and abolition-informed safety planning. during the workshop participants have the opportunity to ask questions, practice skills and apply their knowledge. participants get to be a part of a space they shape with their thoughts, ideas and experiences; a space that loooooves and values participatory knowledge building. 

RMHFA was MORE than a HIT! we are framing everything we do from the ACTION framework/plan, as we prepare for our Resident Assistant Training and the start of the academic year. we are immensely appreciative of all your work, energy, and knowledge sharing. 

I found the class so rich and full of different ideas...I was very struck by the focus on building TRUE consent and respectful care that honors a person's autonomy and humanity. the class itself was so deeply focused on inclusion and accessibility as well.

so first of all, just the way the training is structured and expectations are set up around taking care of yourself while participating such as identifying and sharing access needs really changes how I have previously viewed trainings and workshops. not infantilizing but empowering. in general challenging everything I learned in school when approaching mental health first aid.

loved every juicy moment of today's session - I think RMHFA brings together tangible practical frameworks in such a concise and beautiful and accessible way - bravo!

we have been trained on mental health first aid and suicide intervention from a western/colonial/medical model and this training meets my WHOLISTIC lens and framework much more accurately. 

my biggest takeaway: that care and responding to a state of crisis is never a one-size-fits-all approach. so much of what i've learned about giving and receiving care is based on assumptions and not consent, and I learned how radical and necessary it is to reject assumptions, especially ones propped up and benefited by carceral, ableist, sanist, oppressive systems.

I wanted to share that after the training, I had a session with one of my clients who lives with an eating disorder and I used the RMHFA plan by coming into the session with my nervous system regulated and approaching her with consent and curiosity, identifying the power structure and sharing power with her in how she wants care to look like for her. It was an incredibly beautiful conversation and she said no other therapist has ever spoken to her in this way. 

imagine a world where every person is seen, heard, and supported with care and compassion. imagine a world where therapists aren't the sole custodians of care and support doesn't only happen behind closed doors. this is the vision we strive for with Radical Mental Health First Aide.

I invite you to reflect on the following questionshow do I define care? how do I give care? who is treated as worthy of care? — consider the power you hold to shape the narrative of care in your community. join us for our next workshop and let's co-create a future that inspires dreams. 

below you'll find businesses and collectives that have chosen to bring RMHFA into their world

will you be joining them?