Mental Health First Aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just like physical first aid is provided until medical treatment can be obtained, Mental Health First Aid is given until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.
In the lead up to June 23rd’s Ride Don’t Hide the Canadian Mental Health Association Vancouver Fraser Branch is pleased to have partnered with the BC RCMP to promote this annual event.
The full press release can be found here.
You can bring Mental Health First Aid training to your community or workplace, or participate in public sessions! Course registrations for public sessions are open from now throughout 2019.
Mental Health First Aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.
In addition to Basic Mental Health First Aid, we offer courses for those who interact with youth or seniors.
By the Canadian Mental Health Association’s Centre for Suicide Prevention
In our culture, we are mostly silent about suicide. But when celebrities die by suicide – as Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain did last week, the issue becomes front-page news. Anyone who has lost a loved one to suicide can attest to its utter devastation. This devastation becomes widespread when famous people die, as evidenced by the waves of social media posts and tributes to Spade and Bourdain. We try to make sense of celebrity suicides and we turn to the media for details. Robin Williams’ death in 2014 was widely publicized, and when Marilyn Monroe died in 1962, her death was glamorized in the media, including details of the method. The deaths of these two famous people led to an increase in suicides. That’s because sensational reporting can create “contagion,” where the suicide becomes the tipping point for people who are already at-risk.
On the other hand, responsible media portrayals can reduce this contagion. Following Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, his partner, Courtney Love, gave a public statement encouraging people to seek help, and she did not release photos of the scene. The media worked together with her for more sensitive coverage.
Responsible media coverage of Spade and Bourdain’s deaths can help erode the silence about suicide and encourage thoughtful conversation.
Of course, it’s not only celebrities who are dying by suicide. 12 Canadians die by suicide every day. Suicide is caused by deep, psychological pain. Whether we are trying to comprehend a celebrity suicide, or that of someone close, the belief that one “big, bad thing” thing causes a person to die by suicide is inaccurate and harmful. Most people get to that place of hopelessness after struggling internally for a prolonged period of time, and not because of a single life event. It is a struggle that may come with warning signs including a marked change in behaviour, references to suicide and giving away possessions. We can help by sitting with those who are struggling, and by listening without trying to offer solutions. If you see the signs, you can ask directly, ‘Are you thinking of suicide?’ If the answer is yes, sit with them, and listen to them. Remain calm, open and non-judgmental and then connect them to help by calling Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566.
To learn more about suicide prevention, visit Centre for Suicide Prevention at www.suicideinfo.ca.
CMHA Vancouver-Fraser offers various training programs on suicide prevention and mental health. If you would like to gain more tools to help those who may be having thoughts of suicide or struggling with mental health problems, check out our education programs.
Vancouver — From librarians to grocery store cashiers, everyone in public service jobs should be trained to respectfully support and serve someone who’s showing signs of a mental illness, said Michael Anhorn, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association.
Anhorn’s call for an increase in training such as Mental Health First Aid comes as Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson met with mayors and health care workers from across the country at Toronto’s Mental Health & Cities Summit on Monday.
Read the full story here at thestar.com.
CMHA and BCPFFA Join Forces to Roll Out Mental Health Training
Vancouver, B.C. – The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is partnering with the BC Professional Fire Fighters Association (BCPFFA) to offer mental health training to firefighters across the province over the next 18 months.
Approximately 1,200 firefighters will benefit from CMHA’s Resilient Minds course, a comprehensive, four-module prevention program designed specifically for first responders to support them in areas of psychological trauma and workplace stress.
“Firefighters across the province are being asked to respond to increasingly complex situations and are experiencing mounting pressures in their work. There is a strong need to ensure that they are prepared for the various situations they face on a daily basis and that they have the necessary skills to bounce back after difficult experiences” explains Bev Gutray, CEO, CMHA BC.
The Resilient Minds course educates first responders about trauma so they know how to recognize signs of illness and so that can get support sooner. The program is unique in that it is co-delivered by a CMHA trainer and a firefighter. The collaborative approach is key to its success. Previous participants in the training described it as some of the best training they had received.
“During their careers fire fighters are exposed to an abundance of horrific and mind numbing scenes that can adversely impact their mental health,” says Gord Ditchburn, President, BCPFFA. “By partnering with CMHA to train fire fighters, we are creating a much stronger team of individuals who understand our work, the physiological make up of fire fighters and how we function. We’re very proud of the work we’re doing in helping our members both today and in the long term.”
Knowledge about the problems facing firefighters in British Columbia is supported by recent surveys conducted jointly by CMHA and BCPFFA which have revealed the following:
- 95.5% think learning about mental health challenges will be helpful in their work
- 69.5% report that they have not received training on psychological trauma
- 76% had received no resiliency training
In 2017, 80 firefighters will be trained to become Resilient Minds trainers. These ‘train the trainer’ sessions will take place in the Lower Mainland, Prince George and Kelowna. Vancouver Island has already committed to train approximately 40 trainers to serve their region. Each of these trainers will then train a minimum of 15 firefighters in local halls around British Columbia. The BCPFFA and WorksafeBC will be providing funding to support the provincial roll out of this training.
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in hundreds of neighbourhoods across every province, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. Visit the CMHA BC website at: www.cmha.bc.ca.
Notes to Editor
About the collaboration that supported the development of the Resilient Minds training:
- CMHA’s Vancouver Fraser branch partnered with Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services (VFRS) in fall of 2015 to develop the Resilient Minds program
- A member from the VFRS team, a certified field traumatologist with over 20 years of experience working with individuals in crisis, brought his knowledge and experience to the content
- The program was piloted in 2016-2017. VFRS funded the curriculum research and development process, train-the-trainer program, and workshop materials. WorkSafeBC funded the evaluation process.
Communications Coordinator – Media, CMHA BC Division
P: 604-688-3234 ext. 6326
A CMHA, Vancouver-Fraser Branch Report provides systematic recommendations to improve access to the complex formal support systems in Vancouver
Vancouver, BC – The Vancouver Mental Health and Addictions Systems Barrier Report – 2015/2016, recently released by the Canadian Mental Health Association, Vancouver-Fraser Branch (CMHA-VF), draws on the experience of individuals accessing CMHA-VF’s Peer Navigator Program as they try to find their way through the complex mental health and addictions services (and other associated social support systems) in Vancouver. The report identifies obstacles individuals encounter every day while trying to improve their wellness by accessing housing, income support, primary health care, mental health and addictions care in Vancouver. The Report also provides concrete and detailed recommendations to make the system better for people trying to access it.
“The report is the product of our program’s first year in operation,” says Ron Carten, CMHA-VF Peer Navigator. “We hope the report will make people think differently about how, with a few changes, the system could support people with mental health and addictions concerns instead of constantly present them with challenges that are difficult to navigate.”
A few key areas of concern identified in the report are the lack of availability of subsidized and affordable housing, limited access to health services including primary health care, diagnosis and treatment, consumer education and engagement, and societal stigma related to mental illness and addictions.
“We know that a healthy and responsive support network is key for an individual as they seek wellness and to live the most fulfilling and contributing life they can,” states Michael Anhorn, Executive Director of CMHA-VF. “Our collective efforts to improve and implement systematic changes will prevent individuals from falling through the cracks, and will reduce the stress and isolation people often feel as they try to obtain the supports they need.”
A unique feature of the report is “David’s Story”, a narrative of an individual living with mental health and addictions problems. In order to illustrate the complex interactions between barriers, readers follow David on his journey trying to navigate through Vancouver’s mental health and addictions systems with the help of a Peer Navigator. The story provides a realistic understanding of both the challenges encountered, and how a CMHA-VF Peer Navigator can help and empower people trying to access supports.
“David is a fictional character our team created based on the experiences we hear from our program participants every day and on our own experiences in the mental health and addiction systems”, says Jill Aalhus, Peer Navigator and lead author of the report.
Meet ‘David’ and learn about how our mental health and addictions system could become more accessible to those who need it most by reading the full report at: [https://vancouver-fraser.cmha.bc.ca/programs-services/peer-navigator-peer-support/]. CMHA-VF will also be distributing copies of the Report to health and social services agencies in Vancouver.
The link below will take you to ZEE TV and a recent interview that features Tanya Kohli, our Punjabi speaking Bounce Back Coach. The interview is in Punjabi, but is focused on Bounce Back and the possibility of receiving the coaching in Punjabi. The Bounce Back information starts at 11:30 minutes into the video.
The Victoria Fire Department is partnering with the Canadian Mental Health Association to help address post-traumatic stress among first responders who report facing a 10-fold increase in overdose calls.
Vancouver, B.C. – It seems there is a lot more uncertainty in the world today: government leaders around the globe divide opinions, concerns of terrorism are on the rise, and bigger policy changes are happening in many Western countries. It’s on the news, across social media platforms, in conversations with family, friends, and co-workers. The more we tune in, the more we notice even minor issues becoming amplified until every single comment can feel like another step towards catastrophe. As a result, some people today say that they look to the future with a sense of unease and uncertainty.
“Living life on the edge of catastrophe is a very effective way to feel anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed,” says Sarah Hamid-Balma, Director of Mental Health Promotion at the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) BC Division. “For those who want to take action, it can be hard to see exactly how to respond effectively when so many changes are happening at national levels. This only adds to experiences of powerlessness, hopelessness, or uncertainty.”
CMHA BC offers five tips on finding hope and taking a step back to look at the bigger picture.
Take action on factors or variables you do control. “Uncertainty is not helplessness. You may not be able to change outcomes or predict the future on a larger scale, but there may still be pieces you can control,” says Hamid-Balma. For example, you can’t predict or control a natural disaster like an earthquake. An unhelpful response is to do nothing but worry about the possibility. An empowering response is to assemble an emergency kit for your home, make a plan with your family, and educate yourself on earthquake safety.
Think critically and check the facts—even when you agree with the message. Just because it looks like news or calls itself news doesn’t mean it really is news. Many messages are meant to appeal to emotions rather than facts. Critical thinking skills—like looking at the author and the evidence behind the message—can help you evaluate claims and separate opinions, rumours, and fake news from factual news.
Your needs come first. If you have a hard time prioritizing your own care, consider disconnecting from social media, turning off the news, setting your phone aside, or scheduling self-care for a specific period of time each day. Remember that you can contribute or help others most effectively when you are taking care of yourself.
A little radical acceptance can go a long way. “There will always be uncertainty, upsetting or scary stories in the news, hurtful comments, and conflicting opinions. Getting angry or upset hurts you, but it doesn’t actually change whatever angered or upset you,” says Hamid-Balma. Holding onto that anger or fear only traps you in the past. Instead, acknowledge that it happened and the feelings it evoked, acknowledge that you can’t change the past or other people, and acknowledge what you might be able to do now. Acceptance is also one feature of mindfulness, a skill anyone can practice to live more fully in the present moment.
Choose your battles wisely. Recognize when investing time and energy is helpful and when it can be harmful. You probably won’t change someone’s mind arguing on social media, for example. “A more likely outcome is that you will walk away feeling angry or upset,” says Hamid-Balma.
For more tips and resources on living well despite uncertainty, see CMHA’s full resource at www.heretohelp.bc.ca/uncertainty.
Founded in 1918, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is the most established, most extensive community mental health organization in Canada. Through a presence in hundreds of neighbourhoods across every province, CMHA provides advocacy and resources that help to prevent mental health problems and illnesses, support recovery and resilience, and enable all Canadians to flourish and thrive. Visit the CMHA BC website at www.cmha.bc.ca.
Communications Coordinator – Media, CMHA BC Division
P: 604-688-3234 ext. 6326