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February 12, 2013

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JIBC joins Bell in supporting Mental Health Awareness

Mental health and mental illness is an issue that affects all of us. Talking about mental health is the first step in making a difference in the lives of all Canadians. On February 12, let’s join Bell Let’s Talk to get the conversation started,  and break the silence that continues to stigmatize mental illness, and prevents people from getting the support and help they deserve.

JIBC offers a number of programs and courses that embed mental health and illness into the curriculum.  This ensures that graduates across programs in health sciences, law enforcement and community safety are prepared to respond to people challenged with mental illness with sensitivity, using best practices.

Paramedic Mental Health Simulations

In the Primary Care Paramedic (PCP) program at New Westminster for example, students learn about mental illness through simulations. PCP instructors creatively engage students in role plays that offer first-hand experiential learning about effectively and compassionately responding to patients who are challenged by mental illness. Students are assigned a mental illness, and asked to research the possible causes, symptoms, and associated behaviors. The students then research and study best practices in responding to patients possibly presenting with the mental illness, and create a scenario for their classmates, based on their learning. The day of simulations is often accompanied by guest speakers, instructors’ narratives and theory focused on strengthening student’s understanding, skill and sensitivity in providing care to people with mental illness.

Building Empathy with Police Recruits 

Police recruits receive training on responding to people with mental illness, throughout the course of their training, but there are two days specifically focused on this issue.  On their “Effective Communication” training day, the recruits learn effective ways of communicating in a variety of situations, including working with someone who is suicidal. Later in their training, they are also taught Crisis Intervention and De-escalation skills and techniques, with specific focus on people with mental illness. In addition to simulations, a panel consisting of two mental health consumers, along with two parents or family members, describes how mental illness affects their lives. The panel provides an intimate insight into living with Mental Illness and offers helpful communication tips that increase recruits’ understanding of and empathy for those with mental illness.  

Building Mental Health Counselling Capacity

The Centre for Counselling and Community Safety offers a number of courses and certificates that provide knowledge and skills for professionals who are assisting individuals in the area of mental health. For example, two certificate programs, Graduate Certificate in Complex Trauma and Aboriginal Focusing-Oriented Therapy provide students with assessment and intervention knowledge and skills to help individuals who have experienced complex trauma and/or child sexual abuse.

Individuals who work in the area of mental health and wellness can also take individual courses. Concurrent Disorders Planning is a course which looks at addiction co-occurring with a mental health concern. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know DSM-IV - the psychiatric diagnostic manual - is a course for professionals wanting to increase their understanding of psychiatric concepts, in order to better serve clients who are receiving services within the mental health system.

For members of the general public who want to gain an understanding of how to assist an individual with mental health concerns, we offer a course on Mental Health First Aid. This course is designed by the Canadian Mental Health Association to assist education professionals, health care providers and front line workers in the identification of mental health issues and in the appropriate first aid intervention.

Counselling Services Available at JIBC and Other Institutions

JIBC, along with post-secondary schools across Canada, knows mental health is an issue facing many post-secondary students, and can have a negative impact on learning and academic success. We also know that more students are seeking help for mental health problems, more students with pre-existing mental illnesses attending college/university, and that mental health affects student retention.

There is a national trend towards developing comprehensive policies and services to address student mental health amongst Canadian post-secondary institutions. Treating students experiencing mental health problems is not enough. Best practices suggest that by creating campus communities focussed on inclusivity, promoting positive mental health, strengthening self-esteem, healthy coping and resilience skills, the stigma attached to mental health can be reduced and hopefully eradicated. This creates a safe environment where students do not feel judged, or vulnerable, when they ask for help or disclose a mental illness.

Bell's Role in Helping

JIBC Counselling Services is concerned about students living with mental illness, particularly those who are not accessing help.  As an Institute dedicated in making communities safe, how can JIBC make all students feel safe to access help for mental health problems? Bell’s Let’s Talk day is one way to help. Let’s all contribute to reducing the stigma of mental illness by talking, challenging attitudes and learning more about mental illness.

On Tuesday February 12, support Bell’s funding raising efforts for initiatives like the Kid’s Help Line by getting the conversation started! Bell will donate 5¢ more to mental health initiatives across Canada for every text message sent, long distance call made, Tweet using #BellLetsTalk and Facebook share of the Bell “Let's Talk” image.

Tags: mental health

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Last updated April 6, 2017