By Marusia Kaweski
With this article, the Assiniboia Times would like to start the conversation about mental health and to raise awareness about mental illness. The media has been guilty in the past of promoting mental illness stereotypes and stigma through the focus of its reporting and the language being used. It has only been in the past decade that the media has paid attention to the language used to report on mental health.
What can you do to help someone in a mental health crisis? A group of individuals in the Assiniboia district now know after enrolling in the Mental Health First Aid program, which was held in Assiniboia on February 15 and 16. Instructor Colette Beaubien from Moose Jaw described the program as similar to First Aid for the physical body, but for mental health.
The Mental Health First Aid training is a program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada developed to change attitudes about mental health problems and mental illness, and to work towards improving mental health services and supports.
The two-day program offered instruction on how to provide initial help to people who show signs of mental health difficulties or who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The participants learned how to give assistance using appropriate techniques, tools and strategies.
Although the general public’s knowledge about mental health is growing, there is still not a widespread understanding about how to recognize mental health problems and what effective treatments are available.
With greater community awareness, people will be able to recognize their own problems or those of others and feel more comfortable about assisting and seeking professional help.