Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mental Health First Aid workshop report

When teachers apply to the Pro-D Fund for conference funding, we ask that they find a way to share what they have learned, pass their professional learning on to colleagues, and make use of new skills or ideas with their students. We also ask them (optionally) to craft a statement to be posted here. We are pleased to celebrate the professional development of our teachers.

Workshop: Mental Health First Aid for Adults Working With Youth from the Canadian Mental Health Association - Prince George Branch

Participant: Tracy Larson, Prince George Secondary School

Facilitator: MaryLu Spagrud, Education & Projects Manager

Summary: This is a worthwhile program for all public school teachers. It addresses issues that occur at both the elementary school and secondary school levels. The specific topics covered include:
Substance use disorders, Mood disorders, Anxiety disorders, Psychotic disorders, Eating disorders, Deliberate self-injury

It also teachers crisis first aid skills for: Substance overdose, Suicidal behaviour, Panic attack, Acute stress reaction, Psychotic episode

The course instructs teachers, through the use of discussion, case study, interactive activities etc. how to respond when a student is showing signs of these disorders. The goal here is to empathize with the student (the way he or she is feeling) and put the student in contact with supports. The acronym ALGEE was used - A - assess, L - listen non-judgmentally, G - give reassurance and information and , E - encourage appropriate professional supports, E - encourage appropriate self-help and other support strategies.

An ongoing discussion of the professional, self-help, and other supports available in the community was very helpful. The manual provided is also a goldmine of resources.

Overall this was a great use of time. The program is 14 hours and ran over the Thursday night - 4:30pm to 10:00pm and all day on Friday. A nice mix of SD57 employees (teachers and EAs) as well as other community mental health workers.


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