New CMHA Training Program Educates Justice Sector Employees on Mental Health

Finally, it feels like we are making some real headway when it comes to everything mental health-related.

Of course, there is still a long way to go, but let’s focus on the positive.

For starters, the mass amount of people that took to social media to share their own mental health struggles on Bell Let’s Talk Day reveals that we’re smashing the long-held stigma – and quickly. Another positive; the Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Toronto branch has launched a new online training program that’s aimed at educating employees in the justice sector on mental health.

They announced the initiative on Tuesday.

The goal is to remove “communication barriers that persons with mental health disabilities may encounter when they interact with the broader justice sector.” The online training program will train lawyers, paralegals, those who work in courthouses, staff at legal or probation offices and other justice sector professionals.

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“We found that most people in the justice sector had little formal training in understanding mental health and addictions, and how to respond to individuals experiencing these issues. Many learned through trial and error,” said Steve Lurie, executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association in a press release.

And yes, that seems a little surprising to us, too. (On the theme of sticking to the positive; better late than never).

“After extensive consultation, we have come up with a resource that has something for everybody,” said Lurie. This means a site filled with videos, tips sheets and questions for those who use the resource.

Development of the program was funded through the Ontario government’s EnAbling Change program.

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