Matters of mental health have become a common topic. Stress, anxiety and depression are known to affect people of all ages, sometimes with devastating results.
Mental health also encompasses diagnosed disorders, including post traumatic stress disorder and dementia. Then there’s substance abuse and addiction.
It has been said that there are not enough supports for people dealing with mental health issues,but the Canadian Mental Health Association is working to change that.
New programs to help Manitobans take care of their mental health are starting to gain traction in the province.
A “Recovery College”, established by the Canadian Mental Health Association, is a place where anyone go to learn more about mental health.
“It’s a place for people to take care of their mental health,” said Marion Cooper of CMHA.
Whether you are actively dealing with mental health issues, are a friend or relative of someone struggling with mental health challenges, are involved with a community group or service organization, or just want to be better educated on the pervasive health topic, the college has courses to fit.
“The courses offered help with mental health literacy, mental health promotions and social connections. Various topics are covered like insight on depression, learning about building relationships and having healthy relationships. There’s a wide variety of topics the courses cover,” CMHA’s Sean Miller said.
Numerous courses are offered through both the college and learning centres.
Cooper said the courses are being expanded to include community partners as well.
“Places like NorWest Co-op Community Health are taking the courses and helping deliver them to more of the community. There will be more of that so the learning centre is not just in one location,” Cooper said.
Recovery Colleges were established in the United Kingdom, Cooper said, adding that as soon as she learned about them, she knew they would be a useful program to import.
“Something about Canadians — and particularly Manitobans — is that we’re very innovative. In fact, the first Recovery College was established here in Manitoba,” she added.
WATCH: Mental health recovering colleges gaining traction in Manitoba
Cooper said a learning centre has been in Winnipeg for a few years, while the recovery college has been around for a year.
“We’ve used this opportunity to really elevate the learning platform … to help with the journey to recovery,” said Cooper.
Portage La Prairie was the the first place to have a Recovery College. Winkler and Winnipeg have them as well. In total, there are five in Canada, with hopes of adding 20 within the next year.
Recovery College programs and courses are free. For more on the courses you can visit CMHA’s website.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.