If you are in distress, you can call or text 988 at any time. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to your local emergency department.

Mental Health First Aid Northern Peoples

The Mental Health First Aid Northern Peoples course is guided by a number of important principles such as respect, cooperation, resilience, community, harmony, generosity and resourcefulness. Many of these values are used to guide Indigenous ways of living.

This course was designed to respect the importance of holism and balance. That means that the whole person – mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual parts of a person – must be considered when providing Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). It also means that for someone to be healthy, all parts must be balanced.

Course model

In the MHFA course, you will gain a solid understanding of the 5 basic actions of ALGEE:

Assess the risk of suicide and/or harm
Listen non-judgmentally
Give reassurance
Encourage professional support
Encourage other supports

ALGEE is the framework for having a confident conversation about mental health with family, friends, colleagues, and strangers.

Key outcomes

International evaluations and feedback have found the following outcomes for participants undertaking an MHFA course:

  • increased awareness of signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems;
  • decreased stigma related to mental health;
  • increased confidence interacting with individuals experiencing a mental health problem or crisis;
  • increased help actually provided to individuals in crisis or experiencing a mental health problem.
Two women enjoy a winter skate on an outdoor pond in the Rocky Mountains of Canada. They are both carrying hockey sticks and are accompanied by their pet dog. | Deux femmes profitent d'un patinage d'hiver sur un étang extérieur dans les montagnes Rocheuses du Canada. Ils portent tous deux des bâtons de hockey et sont accompagnés de leur chien de compagnie.

Crisis first aid skills learned

  • Substance overdose
  • Suicidal behaviour
  • Panic attacks
  • Acute stress reactions
  • Psychotic episodes

Course sections

1. Mental health and stigma

  • What is mental health?
  • Historical context of Indigenous well-being
  • Mental health problems and specific groups
  • Protective factors
  • Mental health problems and recovery
Inuit mother and daughter in fur coats posing on a sea side
"Traditional Inuit sealskin boots hung on a washing line like Christmas stockings - on the Arctic island of Uummannaq, Greenland.Danish and Greenlandic children believe that Santa Claus lives on the bay of Spraglebugten on the west of the island. A turf hut (Santa's Castle) was built there for a Danish television programme and remains Santa's home in the popular imagination." | "Des bottes traditionnelles inuites en peau de phoque accrochées à une corde à linge comme des bas de Noël - sur l'île arctique d'Uummannaq, au Groenland. Les enfants danois et groenlandais croient que le Père Noël vit dans la baie de Spraglebugten, à l'ouest de l'île. Une cabane en tourbe (Château du Père Noël) ) y a été construit pour une émission de télévision danoise et reste la maison du Père Noël dans l'imaginaire populaire."

2. Mental Health First Aid

  • What is Mental Health First Aid?
  • Why use Mental Health First Aid?
  • The five basic actions of ALGEE
  • Engage in self-care

3. Substance-related disorders

  • What is a substance-related disorder?
  • Types of substance-related disorders
  • Concurrent disorders
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Categories of substances
  • Risk factors
  • MHFA for substance-related disorders
Two men paddle a canoe down the Yukon River near Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada at midnight close to summer solstice. | Deux hommes pagayent en canot sur le fleuve Yukon près de Whitehorse, au Yukon, au Canada, à minuit, à l'approche du solstice d'été.
Three friends having a rest after hiking. | Trois amis se reposent après une randonnée.

4. Mood-related disorders

  • What is a mood-related disorder?
  • What is grief?
  • Types of mood disorders
  • Substance use and mood disorders
  • Suicide
  • MHFA for mood-related disorders

5. Anxiety and trauma-related disorders

  • What are anxiety and trauma-related disorders?
  • Types of anxiety and trauma-related disorders
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Risk factors
  • Substance use and anxiety-related disorders
  • MHFA for anxiety and trauma-related problems
  • Crisis first aid for panic attacks
  • Crisis first aid for acute stress reactions
  • Treatment and resources
Two snowshoers kiss on the frozen snow on Great Slave Lake in Canada's Arctic. | Deux raquetteurs s'embrassent sur la neige gelée du Grand lac des Esclaves, dans l'Arctique canadien.


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