If someone expressed suicidal thoughts or other mental illness concerns, would you know what to do?
Three upcoming workshops at Brock Univeristy will address common mental health issues and provide student, faculty and staff participants with the tools and practice needed to safely help people in crisis.
Jointly presented by Brock Student Wellness and Accessibility Centre (SWAC) and Human Resources through funding received from the Great West Life Mindful Campus Grant, the free workshops are strategically scheduled to kick off the week of Bell Let’s Talk, an annual initiative that raises awareness and funds in support of mental health. Further offerings will take place throughout the year.
The workshops align with a mental health strategy developed by Human Resources through the Workplace Wellness Framework as well as with a student mental health strategy developed by SWAC.
“The workshops help build a contemplative and mindful campus,” said Julie Fennell, Health Promotion Educator for SWAC. “Proper training will help students, faculty and staff support each other through mental health issues. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health.”
Faculty and staff managers are invited to register for The Working Mind manager training set to take place Tuesday, Jan. 28 from 8:30 to 4:30 in PLZ 600F. The full-day course will provide leaders with the knowledge and skills needed to participate in effective dialogue with the people they manage, as well as strategies to support employees through the mental health continuum.
A similar half-day workshop for employees of managers who have already taken the course will be offered in the coming months.
“Once both the manager and their employees receive the training, they can collaboratively put into practice what they’ve each learned,” said Kathryn Walker, Manager, Health Management and Wellness.
Mental Health First Aid — Youth is a two-day course open to anyone in the Brock community that will help increase participants’ comfort and confidence in working with students and youth aged 12 to 24 experiencing mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, deliberate self-harm and psychosis. Sessions run from 8:30 to 4:30 on Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31. Participants must attend both days to receive a certificate of completion.
“Although the training in focused on youth, much of what is taught can be applied to anyone,” said Walker.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is also a two-day workshop taking place Thursday, Jan. 30 and Friday, Jan. 31 from 8:30 to 4:30. Instructors will teach participants how to prevent suicide by recognizing signs, providing a skilled intervention and developing a safety plan to keep someone alive. Participants must complete both days of training to receive a certificate.
Fennell said that although many suicide training programs teach how to connect a suicidal person with someone qualified to help, ASIST will prepare participants to directly and immediately help people in crisis.
“Unfortunately, when a person is suicidal, there isn’t always someone available who can help,” she said. “If you’re only qualified to make a connection, but there isn’t someone for the person to seek help from, you can’t successfully help the person in crisis. ASIST offers a lot of group think, self-reflection and practice so that if the situation ever arises, participants will be comfortable helping people in crisis and keeping them safe.”