Workplace first aid includes mental health
St. John Ambulance now includes mental-health awareness content in its standard and emergency first-aid courses, helping first responders recognize and respond to emergencies of psychological safety.
By OHS Canada
Being equipped to deal with the mental-health challenges of its employees is a necessity for workplaces across Canada, according to St. John Ambulance, a non-profit Canadian humanitarian organization.
The organization now includes mental-health awareness content in its standard and emergency first-aid courses. Aiming to help participants define mental health, the content helps participants recognize and respond to a mental-health emergency and refers them to mental-health resources.
“Mental-health problems and illnesses affect one in five Canadians in a given year,” says Jerry Rankin, CEO of St. John Ambulance. “As a first-aid leader, it is part of St. John Ambulance’s mission to focus on mental-health issues in the workplace, to improve the health, safety and quality of life of Canadians at work, home and play.”
St. John Ambulance also delivers several mental-health training programs, tailored to meet the needs of Canadian workplaces. Mental-health-trained colleagues and managers are best placed to be the first to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in their co-workers.
A new one-day course titled Mental Health and Wellness for the Workplace is scheduled to launch in March.
Intended to equip employees in how to offer peer-to-peer support for a colleague who’s experiencing a mental-health injury, this one-day course helps participants better recognize when and how to take action if someone is in distress.
The course will tackle topics such as:
- reducing stigma surrounding mental health issues in the workplace
- providing participants with skills, comfort and knowledge to better identify someone in distress and feel empowered to take action to offer aid
- having difficult conversations with co-workers about mental health, suicidality and trauma
- building healthy workplaces to aid in the prevention of mental-health injuries.
Instructors for this course are qualified to handle the sensitive, triggering issues that can emerge when discussing serious mental-health issues.
At present, St. John Ambulance offers a mental-health first-aid course, aiming to provide assistance to a person developing a mental-health problem or experiencing a mental-health crisis.
It is provided until appropriate support is found or until the crisis is resolved.
A two-day course improves mental-health literacy and provides the skills and knowledge to participants to help better manage potential or developing mental health issues in themselves, family members, friends or colleagues.