30 staff, students, and faculty now certified as Mental Health first responders

Staff, students and faculty at the Mount are stepping up in support of those with mental illness. Through Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, over 30 members of the Mount community have become certified first responders, equipped with the skills and knowledge they need to identify and intervene in the case of a mental health crisis.

“We’re raising awareness of mental health issues, reducing the stigma around them, and building our capacity to respond in moments of crisis,” says Joanne Mills, Psychologist, Coordinator of Counselling Services, and certified MHFA trainer at the Mount. “Knowing that one in five Canadians will experience mental health issues in their lifetimes, this training is only becoming more important in maintaining a healthy campus community.”

The MHFA program was developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. 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 two-day training session features two main components: detailed information on the signs and symptoms of major mental health disorders, and a five-step response measure to guide intervention.

Representatives from many Mount departments across campus have already completed the training including Security, Housing, Athletics, Academic Advising, Faculty and the Students’ Union.

“As student leaders, improving our understanding of mental health is just one more way that we’re working to support our community,” says Zach Gallant, president of the Mount Students’ Union Association. Gallant and fellow student executives completed their certification in May. “Having gone through the program, I feel more confident in recognizing when others need help, and what we can do to set them on the path to recovery.”

The Mount will offer MHFA training three times each year, accommodating up to 20 participants per session. The Mount is also set to host the Atlantic Association of Universities for a two-day conference, October 30-31, to discuss and share best practices for dealing with the mental health of students on campus.

About Mount Saint Vincent University

Recognized as a leader in flexible education, applied research, and a personalized approach to education, Mount Saint Vincent University has been nationally recognized among undergraduate universities in Canada for our success in Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council grants and for having one of the lowest student-to-professor ratios. The Mount is committed to being a model of creative teaching and research that nurtures socially responsible global citizens. For additional information about the University, visit msvu.ca.

For more information:

Ben Boudreau, Public Affairs
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