Learning about mental health
Looking for a supportive environment to talk about the tough stuff?
The Helping Others thru Peer Education (Hope) Learning Centre is Saskatchewan’s first recovery college. The Hope Learning Centre provides a unique learning opportunity with a mixture of in-person, online, and remote courses and certifications meant to help people with their mental health.
Free courses offered during specific times on their website include Adulting 101, Borderline Personality Disorder 101, Anxiety 101, Depression 101, and ADHD 101. In an interview, Danielle Cameron, the acting director at the Hope Learning Centre, said, “Our recovery college courses are built around the people. […] They are giving the information and giving us the lived experience. We are there to mediate and generate conversation with them.”
Courses offered through the centre are intended to help people understand their mental health and provide tools to improve it. Cameron explained, “Instead of working with what is wrong with the person or the mental illness, we work on what is strong! So, what are the person’s strengths, what are they doing, and what are some tools to help with anxiety or panic attacks? This is a way that we break away from the professional view. We build on resilience and stay participant-focused.”
The various free courses are intended to help explore a person’s mental health, with a special emphasis on creating a supportive and safe space to talk. As Cameron put it, “It is so powerful, and so amazing to be in a room full of people who may have the same experiences and emotions that you do. […] We create a very safe and comfortable supportive environment. Everybody is treated the same.”
“For example, we give tips and tools on how to help with emotions,” said Cameron. “If you are taking Anxiety 101, and it is getting close to finals, and you are anxious about that, we will give you tools and tips on how to manage that [anxiety]. Whether it is relaxation or a grounding exercise, we will give you a bunch of different tools that you can use.”
The Hope college also offers certifications like Mental Health First Aid, Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Psychological Health and Safety Training. These are all certifications that may help individuals help others in their communities.
The certifications offered on the Hope website come with a fee, but once completed, you can put it down as a certificate on a resume. The training offered is certified by appropriate agencies. For instance, ASIST training is the certified training of LivingWorks, and the Mental Health First Aid training is certified by the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
Cameron explains that the certifications may be helpful towards destigmatizing certain topics, such as suicide. “ASIST helps people help individuals who may be thinking of suicide or already have a plan in action. […] People do not like to talk about suicide. People think if we talk about suicide, it is more likely to happen. But it is the opposite. The more you talk about suicide, the more you educate yourself and see those signs and symptoms.”
The ASIST program is a two-day certification with plenty of information and opportunities to practice talking and asking about suicide. It is designed with social stigmas in mind, making it a safe and valuable space to learn.
Hope Learning Centre offers a unique opportunity to expand your knowledge about mental health. Whether you want to obtain certification to help others or take a course to help yourself, the Hope Learning Center has you covered.