Men­tal First Aid train­ing com­ing to Amherst

The Amherst News - - NEWS - By Christo­pher Good­ing christo­pher.good­ing@amher­st­ Twit­ter: @ADNchris

A spe­cial kind of first aid is com­ing to Amherst, but you may never no­tice it in ac­tion.

In­stead of chest com­pres­sions or ban­dages, IWK Men­tal Health and Ad­dic­tions’ Andy Cox will of­fer train­ing for a first line of re­sponse to wounds some­times in­vis­i­ble to the peo­ple around them – men­tal health.

“The main things are to help ed­u­cate peo­ple about com­mon men­tal ill­ness signs and symp­toms,” Cox said.

Know­ing what to look for, Cox said, helps peo­ple be­come Men­tal First Aiders – a des­ig­na­tion avail­able in 25 coun­tries now - and iden­tify when some­one may be in cri­sis.

Orig­i­nat­ing in Aus­tralia and first brought to Canada in 2007, Cox says there are now 250,000 Men­tal First Aiders across Canada. Ac­cord­ing to the Gov­ern­ment of Canada’s re­port in The Hu­man Face of Men­tal Health and Men­tal Ill­ness, more than twice that many peo­ple missed work in 2003 due to men­tal health is­sues.

“We’re get­ting more and more asks [for cour­ses] from busi­nesses be­cause they see money lost to men­tal health,” Cox said.

The Oc­to­ber 16 and 17 course will be held in the com­mu­nity room in the Amherst Po­lice Dept. and is geared to­wards per­sons 16-years-old and up. There is no pre­req­ui­sites re­quired, Cox said, and he’s cer­tain ev­ery­one will learn some­thing to help oth­ers, if not them­selves a lit­tle bit, too.

“Af­ter ev­ery course there’s al­ways some­body who of­ten comes up and talks about them­selves and says ‘Thank you. I know what to do for my­self now.”

There is a $130 reg­is­tra­tion cost for the course. For more in­for­ma­tion or to reg­is­ter, con­tact Jan­ice Me­lan­son at 902-661-0108, or email Jan­ice.Me­lan­son@Hori­

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