Mental Health First Aid
by Lisa Seppala, True North Implementation
Recently I felt unsafe and traumatized after an altercation with someone experiencing a serious mental health event. As a result, I decided to enroll in the Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Certificate program offered by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. It is a way to better prepare myself to help someone who may need support. By ‘help’, I mean knowing how to approach the person, if approaching is the best solution, knowing what resources or services might be useful and how to access or help the individual access those services, all without creating harm.
The virtual classes start next week and I’ve just completed the pre-work. I already feel that I can approach any future events more constructively. And, the empathy I have has grown significantly, especially after watching the training videos.
The Mental Health Commission states, “The most difficult part of intervening is knowing what to say. Evidence shows that taking an MHFA course increases the confidence participants have in engaging someone experiencing a mental health problem or crisis.” I couldn’t agree more.
According to the Government of Canada, “About 1 in 3 Canadians will be affected by a mental illness during their lifetime”. The more of us who can learn to respond to mental health events, the better off we all will be, in the workplace, the community, and in our schools and homes.