I first heard about emotional first aid kits from someone who attended the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective. It was when the collective was teamed up with the Las Vegas Street Medics to put on a de-escalation training. Our collectiver friend brought up emotional first aid kits as a took for emotional regulation, related to de-escalation.
I was intrigued. I love kits! Not like baby foxes, though those are cool too. Cute kits like a smallish package of materials gathered for a specific purpose. Yeah! Materials that will help do a specific thing. It can be fun to assemble a kit. Or someone else assembled it, and you can see their ideas, when you see the objects.
I researched emotional first aid kits, envisioned what I would like in my own, made one for me, one for a relative, one for a community space that had people wandering in who were in crisis. There’s a kit I made for the Las Vegas Radical Mental Health Collective and brought to all our in person meetings, before pandemic. I made a small zine about emotional first aid kits.
And I use the kit I made for myself. First time I used it was two years ago, when I went into a strange medical place for a sleep study. I’d been dreading that procedure for years. Ming went with me, and while we waited for the worker to hook me up to machines, we played with my emotional first aid kit. I wrote in the little sketchbook. We looked at rocks together. I held smooth rocks in my hand.
It was comforting. But I realized that it wouldn’t work, to use the emotional first aid kit only when I was suffering, because I would associate it with painful situations only. So I like to intentionally use it during lower stress times too, to associate more neutral fun with it also.
I made this video tour of my first aid kit to show the items I keep and tell a little about them. People watching it can get inspired to make their own kits.
The video shows sensory pleasure objects to comfort and distract, like delicious smelling body butter and a squeezy ball. There are good ideas to stimulate the mind, like the affirmations. It includes chemical comforts, like magnesium glycinate and last resort pills if I really need to sleep. There’s a fun variety of beautiful objects.
The video is almost eight minutes long, and it’s chill–it includes no suspense, danger, or real surprises. There’s an option for auto-captioning that youtube provides, a little button that says CC on it, so you can read the words instead of hearing then, or while hearing them.
Thank you for caring for yourself and one another in all the ways you do. I hope you have a lot of tools to stay well and happy.