The Northwest Territories’ minister for health and social services will spend three days on a Mental Health First Aid course this week.
Glen Abernethy will take the course from May 12-14, according to the territorial government’s weekly ministerial activities advisory.
Abernethy is taking the course at a time when mental health is at the fore of the territory’s health agenda.
Last week, the health minister ordered his department to review the events leading up to the death of Yellowknife teenager Timothy Henderson. The 19-year-old’s parents say Timothy’s death could have been avoided if the territory’s mental health supports had been better.
Abernethy also helped to launch a music video, “You’re Not Alone”, designed to increase awareness of the importance of mental health and the services available.
Learn more: Mental Health First Aid
“I encourage all residents to take the Mental Health First Aid program,” he told Moose FM at the video’s launch last Thursday. Earlier in the year, he had encouraged fellow MLAs to do the same.
“All of us working together, we’re going to be able to work together to solve this problem,” he added, “as opposed to being all siloed up, working in individual pockets. We must work together.”
Mental Health First Aid training is designed to help people provide the equivalent of physical first aid when others experience mental health problems or crises.
The Mental Health Commission of Canada says its program teaches people to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems, provide initial help, and guide people toward appropriate professional help.