Mental Health Training Project

The Cause

Mental Health Copilots (MHC) is a non-profit organization that connects individuals to qualified mental health professionals in Alberta. Our free, personalized service helps people find local mental health providers, understand and choose between therapy alternatives, explore cost and payment options, schedule intake appointments, and more, providing ongoing support until the right professional match is found. We also maintain a publicly accessible directory of providers for people who prefer to conduct their own research, empowering and supporting individuals on their unique mental health journeys.

MHC’s Field Law Community Fund idea would provide our volunteers, currently comprising more than 50 people across six teams, with Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. This internationally recognized educational standard teaches individuals how to recognize warning signs for mental health issues and provides them with the skills needed to support people in crisis. This training would be invaluable for MHC volunteers, who regularly interact with community members seeking to improve their mental health in one-on-one settings and online.

To enact this idea, MHC would set up group training sessions in 2023 with MHFA providers. The selected training dates would be communicated to volunteers in a mass email, along with a prompt to sign up a minimum of two weeks before one’s preferred session. MHC’s Program Director would track which volunteers have completed their training and would remind the remaining team members to sign up through monthly newsletters, quarterly meetings, and email reminders. They would also monitor whether there were any vacant seats two weeks prior to each session. If so, MHC would advertise the remaining spots on the organization’s social media platforms, so that members of the public could sign for a complimentary session on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Who Will it Benefit?

The MHC Mental Health Training Project would benefit clients who reach out to our organization for support. These individuals are Albertans aged 18 and over seeking mental health services for themselves, a minor, or another adult due to concerns such as addiction, depression, disordered eating, lack of motivation, loss of a loved one, or post-traumatic stress. The quality of their interactions with the MHC team would improve due to MHFA training, as volunteers would learn concrete ways to better meet the needs and increase the comfort of a person experiencing a mental health issue or crisis.

MHFA training would also benefit the individuals who complete the course. For instance, MHC volunteers who communicate directly with clients would increase their capacity to respond to emergencies (such as an individual experiencing urgent suicidal thoughts) with confidence and skill. Similarly, volunteers who interact with the public through social media would enhance their ability to provide accurate information and dispel myths about mental health issues. By providing volunteers with the education needed to effectively complete their duties and respond to challenges, MHFA would improve volunteer satisfaction and facilitate personal growth through problem-solving. Furthermore, members of the public who receive MHFA training would gain skills that they may not have otherwise developed due to the cost of attending a session. They can apply this information during their interactions with friends, family, colleagues, and even strangers.