NC launches mental health training for employees

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A Message from Dan Patterson: 

We all understand the importance of providing support for friends, relatives or colleagues who are dealing with a mental health issue.

I am writing to inform you of an important new training initiative in the area of mental health.

Colleges and universities continue to see a rise in the number of students seeking assistance and accommodation for mental health issues, and in the severity of issues that students experience. Studies indicate that as many as 400,000 postsecondary students across Canada struggle with mental health issues.

We have certainly seen this trend at Niagara College, and through our Student Services Division, we regularly review, develop and improve the many ways in which we support our students’ mental health.

On campus mental health services are a key priority for colleges, universities and government, who recognize the importance of addressing this growing issue. Enhanced support for, and understanding of mental health issues also reflects a key outcome of our Strategic Plan to provide an inclusive learning environment that reflects the diverse needs of our learners.

To further equip our staff with the knowledge and insight required to accommodate students who are experiencing mental health issues, we have developed online training modules, which are now available to all staff via Blackboard. This training aligns with recent recommendations from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), contained in its Academic Accommodations Report.

All staff are required to complete the OHRC Mental Health Training module. Completion of the OHRC Accommodating Students module is required for all employees who regularly work directly with students in a learning setting. Each module takes approximately one hour to complete. Training must be successfully completed before the start of the Fall 2017 term.

Additional mental health information has also been made available online at niagaracollege.morefeetontheground.ca, or via the Blackboard Mental Health app.

If you have questions regarding the training, please contact Sheryl Johns, manager, Health, Wellness and Accessibility Services at sjohns@niagaracollege.ca.

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