“Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
“Have you made a plan?”
“Have you thought about how you would do it?”
Esther Amagoh had just finished asking a classmate several questions like those when she raised a hand to ask one of her own: “If they answer yes to all of the questions, what do we do next?”
Amagoh, 24, was in the right place to find out: She was among 22 physical therapy doctoral students at Howard University in Washington, D.C., who devoted a recent afternoon to an abbreviated version of a course that prepares people to respond to others in a mental health crisis.
It’s called mental health first aid. And while the classes are not yet nearly as common as traditional first aid courses — the kind you take to learn how to help a choking victim or cardiac arrest victim — they are catching on.