A free mental health first aid course is coming to the Kootenays for the first time, offering valuable skills to medically released veterans and RCMP, their family members, and anyone who provides service to them.
According to a press release from The Mainland BC Military Family Resource Centre (BCMFRC), a range of mental health issues will be covered by the course, including mood, anxiety, trauma-related, psychotic and substance abuse disorders. The course will also teach skills for dealing with drug overdose, suicidal behavior, panic attacks, psychosis and acute stress reaction.
“Mental health issues are often met with significant stigma in the world. That’s what’s so great about [the] Mental Health First Aid – Veteran Community: because the course is about helping others, participants don’t have to worry about standing out as having a problem if they attend. In this way, the course is truly non-threatening for those who’d like to learn more about dealing with these issues,” said Tracy Cromwell, BCMFRC executive director.
The Mental Health First Aid – Veteran Community is one component of a new Veteran Family Program launched in April of 2018, which BCMFRC delivers on behalf of VAC. The Veteran Family Program supports the health and well-being of families as they transition from military to civilian life.
Although the course designed for medically released veterans, RCMP and their family members, says the press release, the two-day course is free and open to anyone, and grants certification in Mental Health First Aid – Veteran Community to those who complete it.
The course takes place Oct. 19 and 20, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Prestige Rocky Mountain Resort in Cranbrook. Space is limited with priority given to medically released/releasing veterans and RCMP and families. To register, by October 16, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional sessions are planned for other B.C. locations in the year ahead.
The press release from BCMFRC explains that ultimately, the course will enable participants to build the skills and confidence necessary to engage in effective conversations about mental health, help them recognize the most common mental health problems and illnesses, increase their comfort level with, and willingness to, help others, and decrease the stigma and discrimination around mental health problems and illnesses.
“According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague. In any given year, one in five people in Canada will personally experience a mental health problem or illness,” says BCMFRC.
“It’s not uncommon for people to learn regular first aid to prepare them for family medical emergencies such as burns and sprains. The mental health first aid course takes that preparedness to the next level, providing valuable, potentially life-saving information and crisis intervention skills to manage mental health challenges.”