April 28th, 2020

// Mental Health Commission of Canada launches free online crisis training for essential workers during COVID-19

Mental Health Commission of Canada launches free online crisis training for essential workers during COVID-19

OTTAWA, April 28, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - In response to added pressures on essential workers during COVID-19, the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) has developed a trio of free crisis response training programs designed to help front-line workers deal with the stress of these exceptional circumstances.  

"I believe in paying it forward," explained Louise Bradley, president and CEO of the MHCC. "We're seeing all kinds of organizations stepping into the breach to do their part, from making protective gear to building ventilators. We asked ourselves, 'What is it that we can offer?' and the answer was clear: mental health training." 

Not only are those working in essential roles during COVID-19 at increased physical risk, they may also be experiencing mental health challenges or be called upon to support a person experiencing a crisis. 

The three new online programs ꟷ Caring for Yourself, Caring for Your Team, and Caring for Others ꟷ are designed to help people deal with these new challenges and are based on the MHCC's successful in-person courses: Mental Health First Aid and The Working Mind.  

Caring for Yourself and Caring for Your Team focus on understanding, assessing, and improving mental health, both as an individual and within group settings. Caring for Others focuses on how to confidently engage in conversations about mental health during a crisis, whether it's with your family and friends or in your communities and workplaces.  

Participants will be introduced to the Mental Health Continuum Model, the "Big 4" coping strategies, and other tools to foster mental wellness and improve resiliency.

"We saw a need and were able to quickly pivot from our usual in-person, in-depth courses, and adapt our skills-based approach to this new context," said Mike Pietrus, director of the MHCC's Opening Minds anti-stigma initiative.

"As we paused our traditional course delivery, it was quickly evident that we could harness the tremendous skills of our trainers to bring some useful, hands-on coping strategies and practical stress-management skills to a community that is doing so much to keep the country up and running and safe."

Registration for these time-limited courses is on a first-come, first-served basis. For essential workers, as defined by the government of Canada, they are being offered at no cost.

Backgrounder: Free online crisis training for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic 

The Mental Health Commission of Canada has developed three crisis response training programs for essential workers: Caring for Yourself, Caring for your Team, and Caring for Others. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, essential workers may experience depression and heightened anxiety due to the stress on their own health, the health of their family and friends, and the future of their livelihoods. These programs are specifically designed to help provide individuals with the tools and knowledge to better understand their own mental health and the mental health of others.

Overview of courses

Crisis Response training - Caring for Yourself (2 hours) - Participants will be introduced to the Mental Health Continuum and the Big 4 Coping Strategies, to help learn how to better understand their own mental wellness, notice if they might be moving into unwell areas, use practical actions to help with stress, and know when to reach out to get professional help.

Crisis Response training - Caring for your Team (3 hours) -  Participants will be introduced to the Mental Health Continuum, the Big 4 Coping Strategies, and Ad Hoc Incident Review to help learn how to better understand their own and their team's mental wellness, notice if they might be moving into unwell areas, use practical actions to help with stress,  know when to reach out to get professional help and learn tips to support team members.

Crisis Response Training - Caring for Others (2 hours) - will focus on how to create a safe space to have conversations about mental health and/or substance use problems. This training will prepare participants to have conversations confidently about mental health during a crisis, with their family, friends, communities, and workplaces. Participants will also be taught the skills required to respond to a mental health crisis until professional help arrives.

Registration for these courses will be on a first-come, first-serve basis and will be available at no-cost for essential workers as defined by the Government of Canada here

These courses have been developed specifically for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and do not replace MHCC's existing training in mental health:

We encourage all participants to complete TWM, TWMFR, TIM and/or MHFA training once face-to-face courses resume.

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SOURCE Mental Health Commission of Canada

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