Building Bridges for Inclusive Care is an initiative being implemented by the Peel Service Collaborative which has dedicated itself to building bridges between the formal and informal (e.g. faith-based) mental health and addiction support systems in Peel. The Peel region has one of the highest religious affiliation rates in the Greater Toronto area and for many believers, their spiritual community is one of the first places to turn to for help. In recognition of the informal support faith communities play in mental health care, community leaders are invited to take part in Mental Health First Aid training.
During the first week of March 2014, ten leaders from spiritual communities completed a 2-day course on Mental Health First Aid for adults who work with youth. The leaders were a diverse group including Buddhist Venerables, a Muslim Imam, and Anglican priests, amongst others. To date, 33 leaders from faith communities have been trained through the 14-hour Mental Health First Aid program. An initiative of the Mental Health Commission of Canada, the Mental Health First Aid program has been shown to reduce stigma, raise awareness, and provide tools to support and connect community members in need with formal mental health support.
If you are a leader from a spiritual community in the Peel region and you are interested in taking an upcoming course in Mental Health First Aid, offered at no cost, please contact Sarah Waldman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-535-8501 X 36608