St. John Ambulance integrates mental health into first-aid courses

New module will be available nationally starting in 2018

Bell Let's Talk has donated $150,000 to St. John Ambulance that will support the integration of mental health training in standard and emergency first-aid courses.


"Addressing health-care needs should include a person's access to mental health support. With the support of Bell Let's Talk, St. John Ambulance is poised to evolve our first-aid courses, which are delivered to more than 500,000 Canadians each year, to include a new mental health component," said Philip Clarke, chancellor of St. John Ambulance. "We currently offer Mental Health First Aid courses in several provinces stemming from our partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Integrating a mental health module into our standard and emergency first-aid courses is the next evolution of our commitment to the mental health of Canadians."


Bell Let's Talk Day 2017 is January 25, when Bell donates five cents to Canadian mental health programs for every text message, mobile call and long distance call made by Bell customers, as well as for various social media activities.


The integrated module will be available nationally starting in 2018. Courses in English and French will be offered in workplaces, hospitals, schools and communities. Canadians will learn what to do in an emergency, including how to recognize high risk situations and when to escalate quickly to professionals.


"Having someone nearby who is trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness can make such an important difference for someone experiencing a crisis," said Bell Let's Talk national spokesperson Clara Hughes. "Providing initial help and guiding a person toward appropriate professional resources is just as important for our mental health as for our physical well-being."


Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let's Talk, said the partnership between the two organizations demonstrates that mental health is integral to an individual's overall health and that it is important for everyone to learn to be mental health first aiders.