Col­lege to en­hance men­tal health train­ing

The Compass - - OPINION -

The Col­lege of the North At­lantic (CNA) has re­ceived fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to help im­ple­ment a new men­tal health first aid train­ing pro­gram that could reach as many as 200 staff, stu­dents and com­mu­nity groups through­out the province this year.

On Jan. 22, Bell and Bell Aliant, through its Bell Let’s Talk Com­mu­nity Fund, an­nounced $15,000 in fund­ing for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of an in­no­va­tive men­tal health ini­tia­tive.

The money will en­able the col­lege to cer­tify sev­eral staff mem­bers as in­struc­tors for the train­ing pro­gram, which is ad­min­is­tered by the Men­tal Health Com­mis­sion of Canada.

Each of the cer­ti­fied in­struc­tors will then de­liver the train­ing three times over the next year.

Men­tal health first aid (MHFA) pro­vides help to a per­son de­vel­op­ing a men­tal health prob­lem or ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a men­tal health cri­sis. Just as phys­i­cal first aid is ad­min­is­tered to an in­jured per­son be­fore med­i­cal treat­ment can be ob­tained, MHFA is given un­til ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment is found or un­til the cri­sis is re­solved.

“As a col­lege we want to en­sure the best learn­ing and work­ing en­vi­ron­ment for our stu­dents and staff. Pro­vid­ing a men­tal health sup­port net­work is a key com­po­nent to cre­at­ing that en­vi­ron­ment,” said Ann Marie Vaughan, CNA’s pres­i­dent and CEO.

“The train­ing pro­vided by fund­ing from the Bell Let’s Talk Com­mu­nity Fund helps us to be proac­tive in iden­ti­fy­ing the in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal ser­vices and re­sources that can as­sist all mem­bers of our col­lege com­mu­nity.”

The Bell Let’s Talk Com­mu­nity Fund is part of the Bell Let’s Talk men­tal health ini­tia­tive which pro­vides grants to or­ga­ni­za­tions, hos­pi­tals and agen­cies fo­cused on im­prov­ing ac­cess to men­tal health care in their com­mu­ni­ties.

“This part­ner­ship with the col­lege demon­strates our com­mit­ment to sup­port men­tal health ini­tia­tives that will have a mean­ing­ful im­pact in com­mu­ni­ties through­out New­found­land and Labrador,” said Ge­off Davis, re­gional vice-pres­i­dent of sales in New­found­land and Labrador.

“Men­tal health first aid train­ing will help their staff rec­og­nize and re­act to the signs of dis­tress, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion and other re­lated is­sues so stu­dents can re­ceive early ac­cess to care and ser­vices.”

“Bell is ex­tremely pleased to lend our sup­port to Col­lege of the North At­lantic and the 60 other com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions across the coun­try that were part of the Bell Let’s Talk Com­mu­nity Fund in 2012,” added Mary Dea­con, chair of the Bell Let’s Talk men­tal health ini­tia­tive.

“Th­ese groups are truly mak­ing a dif­fer­ence at the grass­roots level. We’re very proud to be help­ing them pro­vide much needed re­sources to en­hance men­tal health ser­vices and pro­grams for those af­fected by men­tal ill­ness.”

The Bell Let’s Talk men­tal health ini­tia­tive is a five-year char­i­ta­ble pro­gram that pro­motes men­tal health across Canada through the Bell Let’s Talk anti-stigma cam­paign and sup­port for com­mu­nity care, re­search and work­place best prac­tices. For more, visit­sTalk.

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