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

Campus Initiative

Provincial Mental Health First Aid Initiative – MHIF (Round 1)

Project Summary:

Humber co-ordinated the delivery of Mental Health First Aid training to post-secondary employees across the province. The project increased mental health literacy and provided sustainable, ongoing education and training on how to help students who may be struggling with mental health issues.

Supported by the Mental Health Commission of Canada, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved. The two day, 12 hour training aims to:

  • Improve participants’ understanding of mental health problems and mental illness
  • Minimize participants’ fear and hesitation to become involved when someone is experiencing a mental health problem
  • Develop simple and effective intervention strategies that are relevant to the participant’s role in their institution

In addition to the delivery of MHFA training on-campus to interested institutions by Humber’s full time MHFA instructor, the project included MHFA instructor training to employees from various academic institutions.

Key Outcomes:

  • 24 Institutions participated in the project
  • 72 MHFA Instructors were trained
  • 161 courses were delivered
  • 2,812 post-secondary employees were trained in MHFA

The establishment of institution-based MHFA instructors ensures that the training is sustainable and available on an ongoing basis. This creates the potential for a consistent, prioritized, and embedded approach to addressing mental health problems that is grounded in education, de-stigmatization, and a sense of shared responsibility for student and employee well-being.

Based on participant feedback, opportunities to develop basic intervention skills with persons in distress has been especially helpful. The experiential learning offered in the MHFA course has aided participants to understand why, when, and how to respond to mental health concerns.

The MHFA course is an excellent complement to new and existing mental health initiatives, and is broadly applicable – staff, faculty, and administrators have all found the course to be relevant and valuable to their roles.

Reports & Resources:

While this initiative doesn’t have any specific resources to share, you can find out more information about the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s National MHFA Program and search for a course in your area on their website, www.mentalhealthfirstaid.ca

Project Contact:

Meg Houghton

Director of Student Access, Wellness and Development
Humber College
416-675-6622 x. 5230

Jen McMillen

Dean of Students
416-675-6622, ext.5754

Maureen Carnegie

Mental Health First Aid Facilitator
Humber College
416-949-8477

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