WSN announces new Mental Health First Aid training course

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Mental Health Commission of Canada course available in June

Photo of Lisa Lounsbury, Mental Health First Aid TrainerRecent news about a workplace stabbing, suicides in Attawapiskat, and how one in five Toronto-area workers has a mental health issue serve to highlight the growing attention mental health is receiving. Mental health is an issue that affects every workplace in Ontario, and the workplace can contribute positively or negatively to a person’s mental health. 

As of June 2016, Workplace Safety North (WSN) offers the new Mental Health First Aid training course, developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), for Ontario.

“We’re pleased to announce this important new course in partnership with Lisa Lounsbury of New Day Wellness,” says Candys Ballanger-Michaud, WSN President and Chief Executive Officer. “Mental Health First Aid is an idea whose time has come. We’ve focused on physical first aid, and now we need to focus on providing support to someone who is experiencing mental stressors.”

Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person, mental health first aid is provided until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved. Co-workers who see each other each work day are often in the best position to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in their fellow co-workers, provided they’ve been properly trained.

“The two-day course provides a good overview of mental health, signs and symptoms of common problems, information about effective interventions and treatments, and ways to access professional help,” says Ballanger-Michaud. “The benefits of a psychologically healthy workplace are well known, and include improved morale, productivity, and retention, as well as reduced absenteeism, injuries, and medical disability.”

Course instructor Lisa Lounsbury is the founder and owner of New Day Wellness, a Sudbury-based company that specializes in corporate wellness coaching and fitness training. Working primarily in northern Ontario, Lounsbury has experience dealing with substance, mood and anxiety related disorders. 

“I’m very passionate about bringing ‘health’ to ‘health and safety,’ and bringing mental health awareness to the workplace and starting the conversation,” says Lounsbury, who wrote an article on that very topic in 2014 for Northern Life: Time to start the conversation.

For more information on Mental Health First Aid training, contact training@workplacesafetynorth.ca

Resources

Mental Health First Aid training

Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) – News, resources, videos

Action Guide for Employers – MHCC

Healthy Minds at Work – Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Occupational Safety and Health Fact Sheet: Mental Health at Work – CCOHS

Free app: Measure Workplace Stress – Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers (OHCOW)

Mental health in the workplace – Canada Labour Program includes top 8 practices

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