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"Create your Mental Health First Aid Kit"

Ida Vaisanen – Writer, Icon

“While we speak of kindness, we need to remember to be kind to ourselves. Self-care is fashionable for a reason.

I wanted to tell you about the best mental health tip I have received, which also doubles up as an enjoyable do-it-yourself project: a collection of items to soothe you in a case of anxiety or a panic attack. A Mental Health First Aid Kit, if you will.

First, get a container, such as a jewellery box or a jar. Feel free to decorate this with stickers or a stylish label. Or maybe you want to make it as inconspicuous as possible. That’s also fine, it’s your box.

Second, find items that you like. Appeal to all senses. Find something you can touch, smell, taste and look at. The point is to distract and ground you, so get whatever works for you. It doesn’t need to make sense to anybody else.
What is your favourite smell? What memory makes you smile? What small item can encapsulate that and help to evoke a feeling of comfort and safety?

To give you an idea on what to put into your box, I will share what is in a repurposed biscuit jar in my kitchen: a soft dish cloth, hard boiled sweets, lavender balm, a bag of cardamom, a list of complex words for me to recite, pictures of my dogs and some smooth pebbles.

When engulfed by distress, it’s hard to remember that waves pass. In the meantime, this box offers a lifejacket.”

Ida Vaisanen