Helping Ontario's colleges and universities enhance capacity to support student mental health and well-being

Campus Initiative

Mental Health First Aid: First Nations Cree & Ojibwe Translation & Training – MHIF (Round 2)

Project Summary:

This project worked to bridge the gaps in mental health “first aid” service provision that currently exists in aboriginal communities. The project built on existing capacity by translating the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s (MHCC) Mental Health First Aid – First Nations curriculum to the Ojibwe and Cree languages, ensuring training accessibility to the vast majority of aboriginal populations in Ontario. The initiative was designed to develop a critical mass of well-trained people who could support Aboriginal learners across Ontario. Nearly 20 percent of Canadore College’s total student population is of Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Cree Algonquin, Mohawk, Inuit or Métis decent from Ontario, Québec and nation-wide, one of the highest representations in Ontario’s college system. 

Key Outcomes:

This program has yielded positive outcomes. Four facilitators were trained to deliver MHCC’s Mental Health First Aid – Youth program. More than 11 training sessions took place in six communities, resulting in 41 unique organizations sending nearly 200 participants to learn about effectively assisting youth in crisis. 

“I was humbled by the gracious nature and trust of each community we visited,” said Mary Wabano, Director of Canadore College’s First People Centre, who was one of the certified trainers. “Over the course of the program, many personal stories are shared, many of which are painful. Being able to communicate in the communities’ mother tongues was invaluable to the well-being of the participants.”

Wabano credits the success of the MHFA program to its practical and applied nature.

“We got tangible results because we listened to what was needed in our communities instead of driving a project that we thought would be a solution to their problems,” she said.

Reports & Resources:

None at this time.

Project Contact:

Mary Wabano

Project Lead & Director
Our First Peoples’ Centre

Shawn Chorney

Vice President, Student Services, Recruitment, Enrolment Management and Marketing
Canadore College

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