Free online mental health training for youth

By Glenn Hicks
August 31, 2018 - 5:00pm

Free mental health training for school students and young adults is now a feature of a new segment in online education. It has been launched ahead of the new school year.

The Saskatchewan Safety Council is a charitable non-profit organization and the new mental health segment for youth aged 14 to 21 was introduced as part of their Career Safety Education program.

“The program offers mental health strategies,” Community Relations Coordinator Merissa Scarlett told paNOW. "That goes over how to cope with stress in a good way, and how to handle the stress that comes with life events.”

Scarlett said everyone experiences stressors differently.

“So if it’s reading a book that makes you relax then do that; or managing a “to do list” because you’re feeling overwhelmed with how much you have going on. The program talks about going to someone to speak about your stress such as an employer, teacher or parents,” she said.

She said some teachers had already picked up on the program and were now offering it as part of the career studies in schools.

“The content [of the program] empowers youth to improve their own mental well-being by building mental fitness,” Scarlett said.

Mark Zulkoskey is a cognitive disability consultant at the Prince Albert Mental Health Outpatient unit, which is based in the Victoria Square next to the hospital. He said the online offering is an excellent idea.

“Often youth are entering the workforce in positions that are precarious in employment like the service sector or in trades with supervision and that can be stressful, so having an opportunity to have this education is important.”

He said knowing about self-care and balancing stresses, workloads, and one’s personal and social aspect of life was a good thing. That includes in education.

“Academically there are a lot of stress levels that are similar to workplace stress and so teaching teachers the strategies to recognize those things and to allow educators to know what resources are in the community [is important],” he added.

Zulkoskey said those resources included the 811 free call number and the walk-in service at the Prince Albert Mental Health Outpatient unit.

“The more we talk about things the more it becomes normalized and it becomes part of our vernacular," he said. “For many years we talked about the teenage life being care-free but nowadays there’s a lot of expectations in terms of post-secondary education and gaining employment.”


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