Mental Health First Aid training returns

Red and white Cubes with letters spelling out Mental Health First Aid. CREDIT: ALMAGAMI
Mental Health First Aid training is helping prepare staff and faculty to better help campus community members in distress.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is returning to Fanshawe College.

The goal of the training is to teach the basic tools required to effectively intervene and support members of the community, including students and co-workers, who are experiencing a mental health crisis. A session was held Aug. 25, with more sessions for fall soon to be announced.

MHFA has the same goal as traditional first-aid: to provide a person initial treatment until more extensive treatment can be administered.

Get the TD Insurance app.

The program features modules on various mental health conditions, videos of actual intervention, and according to Eric Sloat, Fanshawe’s Organizational Development and Learning consultant, conveys an important overarching message: “[getting] past some of the unknowns about mental health, some of the fears about it, and just talk and learn about it.”

The course’s learning outcomes are: An improved understanding of mental health problems and mental illness;

Resiliency to fear and hesitation when presented with a situation where intervention is needed; and,

Knowledge of simple and effective intervention strategies relevant to an employee’s role at the college

Sloat, who is an integral part of the joint initiative that facilitates the MHFA training program at the college, said the course is strictly optional, and not mandatory for any employees at the college.

Additionally, there are no prerequisites for an employee to register in one of the 15 course slots available (45 total available during the year), and no priority given to employees more likely to encounter situations in which to use the training.

“Should (MHFA) be mandatory for some areas? Health and safety is mandatory, and you could argue that this is a form of health and safety,” Sloat said.

MHFA at Fanshawe is offered in a hybrid format, including an online pre-work module, and then a full-day (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) live webinar to cover the two final modules.

Employees interested in participating in the course are encouraged to visit and search the term ‘mental health first aid’ to find the program listing.

Participants receive an extensive course manual, and upon completion of the course, a certificate from Mental Health First Aid Canada.

Sloat pointed out, however, that MHFA training through the college is not the only way to ready oneself to help someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

He recommended an online course at for anyone interested who is not an employee of the college, or an employee who cannot attend the MHFA course.