Learn to recognize and aid a person struggling with their mental health and connect them to safe resources
The Student Affairs and Outreach team at the University of Saskatchewan will be hosting an evidence-based workshop on Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) on Dec. 12-13. The team has also recently run a suicide alertness training workshop (LivingWorks safeTALK), and plans to offer more of this training in the near future.
Tracy Spencer, manager of the Student Affairs and Outreach team and a facilitator of the MHFA workshops and safeTALK training, spoke to the Sheaf about the mental health programs offered on campus and why they have been established:
“What we really recognized was the need to provide early intervention and skill building in students,” Spencer said, “As a community, we can all help one another. It’s not always the professionals that need to help. There’s so many wonderful things that can happen when there’s peer-to-peer assistance as well. We wanted to be able to dive into the world of prevention and early intervention.”
The MHFA workshop is an evidence-based training program created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada which helps participants increase their knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of several mental health illnesses and problems.
The MHFA workshop increases an individual’s knowledge about “helping actions”, making them more confident in supporting people experiencing a mental health problem. Spencer says that the workshop can also increase mental wellness in oneself, and decrease stigma associated with mental health problems, including suicide.
The MHFA workshop is 12 hours of instruction in total over two days, requiring full completion to receive a certificate from the Mental Health Commission of Canada. The workshop is split into five modules, and touches on general mental health problems. As the course progresses, it goes further into the mental health illnesses that are more prevalent within the university communities. Among the subjects talked about are the importance of mental health, and how it can be affected by substances, mood, anxiety, trauma and psychosis.