Mental Health First Aid Canada launches new training course for northern peoples

YELLOWKNIFE, June 25, 2014 /CNW/ - The Mental Health Commission of Canada is proud to announce the launch of Mental Health First Aid Canada's new training course designed for Canada's northern communities.

Similar to the basic Mental Health First Aid Canada training course, Mental Health First Aid for Northern Peoples is a three-day training program designed to improve mental health literacy and provide skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems. There is also a six-day course to train people to become instructors.

The new course for northern peoples is designed specifically for use in Canada's three Territories, and focuses on determinants of health as they relate to the north, such as Aboriginal wellbeing and holistic approaches to health, Seasonal Affective Disorder and supports specific to the north (i.e. Land-based healing centres). The course also addresses certain mental health factors unique to the north such as isolation, limited number of health care professionals, fewer supports and services, high turnover of healthcare staff, and high medical travel costs.

"A Mental Health First Aid course specifically designed for Northerners provides us the right tools to overcome the stigma associated with mental health," said Minister of Health and Social Services Glen Abernethy. "This training course, along with our other programs to support mental health, will start a conversation and find solutions for our residents."

Originally created in Australia in 2001, the Mental Health First Aid training course has since been developed, evaluated and disseminated in 18 countries. Mental Health First Aid Canada came under the leadership of the Mental Health Commission of Canada in February 2010 and has been deployed in workplaces, as well as fire stations, police forces, public schools, hospitals, and universities across the country. Today, more than 100,000 Canadians are trained in Mental Health First Aid.

"The Mental Health Commission of Canada is honoured to have worked with the governments and stakeholder communities in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut to develop a version of Mental Health First Aid that celebrates the uniqueness of northern life and northern peoples," said Louise Bradley, President and CEO of the Mental Health Commission of Canada. "It is our hope that this new course will provide welcome mental health awareness and support across communities in Canada's northern territories."

The Mental Health Commission of Canada wishes to acknowledge that the development of Mental Health First Aid for Northern Peoples would not have been possible without support from the Governments of the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut.

ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH COMMISSION OF CANADA
The Mental Health Commission of Canada is a catalyst for change. We are collaborating with hundreds of partners to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems and to improve services and support. Our goal is to help people who live with mental health problems and illnesses lead meaningful and productive lives. Together we create change. The Mental Health Commission of Canada is funded by Health Canada.
www.mentalhealthcommission.ca | strategy.mentalhealthcommission.ca

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The views represented herein solely represent the views of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Production of this document is made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada.

SOURCE: Mental Health Commission of Canada

For further information: Media Contact: Glenn Johnson, Senior Media Relations Specialist, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Mobile: 1-613-857-1292, gjohnson@mentalhealthcommission.ca

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