AMS, Safety Fund build capacity for mental health training
The Mental Health Working Group is receiving $18,500 to expand the delivery of mental health education and training on campus starting this fall.
The money comes from two sources: $17,000 from the provincial government through Queen’s Women’s Campus Safety Fund and $1,500 from Accessibility Queen's, a committee under the Social Issues Commission of the AMS.
The funds will be used to train additional Queen’s staff to deliver Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), a two-day program that teaches people how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, how to provide initial assistance and how to guide individuals to professional help.
Since 2008, when the Safety Fund first supported MHFA instructor training for two staff, more than 300 members of the campus community have completed the program.
“Demand for the Mental Health First Aid program at Queen’s continues to grow,” says Mike Condra, Director of Health, Counseling and Disability Services. “This funding will enable us to deliver it to more staff, faculty and students, increasing mental health literacy on campus and helping to reduce stigma.”
The funds will also allow for the expanded delivery of day-long and half-day education programs that are options for people who may not be able to spend two full days in training.
“We have found the shorter formats, which were developed by the working group, to be very effective in extending the reach of mental health education programming,” says Dr. Condra. “This funding will allow us to have a larger pool of trainers, ready and available, to deliver the programs to any group that requests it.”
Accessibility Queen's provides grants to campus and community groups working to make Queen's more accessible and safe for all students.
“The AMS and the Social Issues Commission are committed to ensuring that students have as much support as possible regarding mental health,” says the AMS’s Social Issues Commissioner T.K. Pritchard. “Ensuring that mental health education is available to everyone who requests it is an important part of reaching that goal.”
The Women’s Campus Safety Fund is an annual grant from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities that is administered through the Office of the Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). It supports initiatives that help provide a welcoming, safe and healthy environment for the campus community.
Queen’s Mental Health Working Group, which includes students, staff and faculty, was established in 2007 and is part of Student Affairs’ health and wellness framework.