Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided 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.
The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.
The program does not teach people how to be therapists. It does teach people how to:
- Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
- Provide initial help.
- Guide a person towards appropriate professional help.
MHFA shares the same overall purpose as traditional first aid – to save lives. It aims to:
- Preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others.
- Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state.
- Promote the recovery of good mental health.
- Provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem.
Who should take an MHFA Canada course?
Anyone can benefit from Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). It is open to members of the general public. Families affected by mental health problems, teachers, health service providers, emergency workers, frontline workers who deal with the public, volunteers, human resources professionals,
employers and community groups are just a few of the groups who have benefitted from MHFA.
Why take MHFA Canada?
Mental health problems are common, especially depression, anxiety and misuse of alcohol and other drugs. One person in three will experience some form of problem with their mental health at some point in their life.
There is a stigma associated with mental health problems. This may hinder people from seeking help. People are often ashamed to discuss mental health problems with family, friends and work colleagues. They may also be reluctant to seek professional help for such problems because of their concerns about what others will think of them.
Many people are not well informed. Understanding how to recognize mental health problems and what effective treatments are available is not widespread. With greater community awareness, people will be able to recognize their own or others’ problems and feel more comfortable about seeking professional assistance.
Professional help is not always on hand. Family doctors, counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists can all assist people with mental health problems. However, just as with accidents and other medical emergencies, such assistance is not always available when a problem first arises. This is when members of the public can offer immediate aid and support the person until they get appropriate professional help.
People may lack the insight to realize they need help or that help is available. Some mental health problems cloud clear thinking and good decision-making. A person experiencing such problems may not realize that they need help or that effective help is available for them. They may be in such a state of distress and not able to think clearly about what they should do.
Members of the general public often do not know how to respond. In a mental health crisis situation, the helper’s actions may determine how quickly the person with the problem gets help and/or recovers. In Mental Health First Aid Canada, they learn an approach to help them to be calm and confident and to respond in an appropriate way to give the best help
CMHA Thompson provides two versions of MHFA. They are MHFA Canada Basic and MHFA Canada: For Adults Who Interact With Youth
The Basic version focuses more on adults whereas the youth version focuses on youth aged 12 -24 years.
Mental Health First Aid Canada offers the following course content in its courses. See course descriptions for more information:
- Explanations of mental health, mental illness and mental health problems
- Signs and symptoms of common mental health problems and crisis situations
- Information about effective interventions and treatments
- Ways to access professional help
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA)
LOCATION: To be announced
To register please complete the MHFA Registration Form and fax to (204) 677-5534 or call Darren at (204) 677-6057