Public Education

Public Education

As part of our mandate to increase the awareness of mental illness in our community we support and hold many different public events.  Annual campaign events such as  Mental Health Week and Mental Illness Awareness Week events help us dispel the myths and counteract the stigma that people with mental illness face every day. The Sunflower Fun Project for grade 2 students is offered to elementary schools each May and includes activities and contests aimed at starting mental health literacy early.

CMHA Grey Bruce staff welcome opportunities to provide trainings, workshops, presentations and guest speakers through out area.  If you are interested in having a speaker attend an event you are planning, please contact Jackie Ralph at jralph [at] cmhagb [dot] org or by phone at 519-371-3642 ext. 188.

There are also many education and training programs available at CMHA Grey Bruce.  For a full list of trainings offered, visit our Calendar.


Mental Health First Aid

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Mental Health First Aid Canada gives people the skills to provide that early help that is so important in recovery. Participants will learn the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and where and how to get help in Grey and Bruce. One in three Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. The earlier a problem is detected and treated, the better the outcome.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as physical first aid is administered to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained, MHFA is given until appropriate treatment is found or until the crisis is resolved.

The MHFA Canada program aims to improve mental health literacy, and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague.

The program does not teach people how to be therapists. It does teach people how to:

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of mental health problems.
  • Provide initial help.
  • Guide a person towards appropriate professional help.

MHFA shares the same overall purpose as traditional first aid – to save lives. It aims to:

  • Preserve life where a person may be a danger to themselves or others.
  • Provide help to prevent the mental health problem from developing into a more serious state.
  • Promote the recovery of good mental health.
  • Provide comfort to a person experiencing a mental health problem.

CMHA Grey Bruce offers basic training on Mental Health First Aid (12 hours) as well as MHFA for adults who interact with youth (14 hours).

For more information, find out about our next session or to book a private group call Jackie at 519-371-3642.

Mental Health First Aid is a program of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.


Safe Talk Suicide Awareness for Everyone

SafeTALK, about three hours in duration, is a training that prepares anyone over the age of 15 to identify persons with thoughts of suicide and connect them to suicide first aid resources. Most people with thoughts of suicide invite help to stay safe. Alert helpers know how to use these opportunities to support that desire for safety. If you are interested in booking a training for your group or workplace, call 519-371-3642.


Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training


ASIST is a two-day interactive workshop that prepares caregivers to provide suicide first aid interventions skills while helping to build suicide prevention networks in the community. Small group discussions and skills practice are based on adult learning principles.

Who can attend?
All caregivers, formally designated or not; minimum age 16 years.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the workshop, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify people who have thoughts of suicide
  • Understand how beliefs and attitudes can affect suicide interventions
  • Seek a shared understanding of the reasons for thoughts of suicide and the reasons for living
  • Review current risk and develop a plan to increase safety from suicidal behavior for an agreed amount of time
  • Follow up on safety commitments, accessing further help as needed

To book training or find out when the next training will take place call 519-371-3642.


The Grey Bruce Friends and Neighbours (F.A.N.) Club 

The Grey Bruce Friends and Neighbours (FAN) Club program is a children’s mental health awareness program for children ages 4 to 11 using child-sized hand and rod puppets to discuss social issues affecting them.

  • A typical presentation is 30-45 minutes in length and consists of introductory activities, a puppet skit and a question and answer period.
  • Recommended audience size is up to 5 classes at a time and preferably split into primary and junior presentations if possible.
  • There is no set fee for a FAN Club presentations however, donations to CMHA Grey Bruce in care of the program are always gratefully accepted.  A suggested donation is $100 per presentation.

To book a presentation or to become a volunteer puppeteer, please contact Jackie Ralph, FAN Club coordinator by phone at 519-371-3642 ext. 188 or by email at jralph [at] cmhagb [dot] org.

Preschool Presentations

  • “Three’s a Picnic” – Learning about Friendship and Respect
  • “Simon Says” – Learning about Good Manners
  • “Halloween by Numbers” – Halloween Safety
  • “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire” – Fire Prevention and Safety
  • “Police are our Friends” – Community Safety

Primary and Junior Presentations

  • “Wayne Gretzky is My Hero” – Coping with Bullies
  • “Lisasaurus Rex” – Dealing with “Girl” bullying
  • “No Brakes for Jason” – Learning about ADHD
  • “Anchors Away” – Learning the difference between secrets and surprises (tattling vs. reporting)
  • “Not for Me” – Prevention of underage smoking
  • “Throwing out the Garbage” – Learning about self-esteem
  • “Pulled Around” – the importance of talking about your feelings and/or coping with divorce and separation (featuring information about the Rainbows program)
  • “Hot Potato” – Dealing with Anger and/or Talking about Family Violence
  • “The Peace Pennant” – For military families: Talking about Deployment
  • “Kathylocks and the Three Dads” – For military families: Talking about returning home
  • “Let’s Learn about Alzheimer’s” – presented to Grade 4 classes only in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society of Grey and Bruce

Thank you to our FAN Club sponsors

  • Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Bruce Power
  • United Way of Bruce Grey
  • Community Foundation of Grey Bruce
  • Ontario Power Generation
  • Meridian Credit Union
  • Kiwanis Club of Owen Sound
  • Eva Leflar Foundation
  • McDonalds Restaurants
  • ETFO


“Let’s Talk” Youth Mental Health Awareness program

A mental health and mental illness awareness program for intermediate, high school and college students.

“Let’s Talk” is a two-visit program designed to reach out and help intermediate, high school and college youth develop and maintain good Mental Health, while decreasing the stigma surrounding Mental Illness and its treatment.

The FIRST VISIT of the “Let’s Talk” program includes:

  • a survey of students’ awareness and attitudes about mental health & mental illness
  • mental illness – what is it, what are the symptoms, what are the “stigmas” – Attention Phys. Ed. Teachers! This part of the program is a power point presentation of information compiled from the “Mental Health and High School Curriculum Guide” – which can be used for the Grade 11 Health curriculum!

The SECOND VISIT of the “Let’s Talk” program may include:

  • interactive activities to practice good coping strategies
  • the personal story of youth(s) who have experienced Mental Illness first hand, including what it was like when the symptoms of mental illness first developed, when and where they went for help and how they are currently managing
  • an informal discussion forum where students will get to discuss issues they are facing, their views about the mental health system, and how the system could better meet their needs

Each “Let’s Talk” visit is approximately 75 minutes in length and are best held a maximum of a week apart.  To “encourage” discussion, peanut-free snacks are often provided during the presentations.

For bookings, contact Jackie Ralph at 519-371-3642 ext. 188 or by e-mail at jralph [at] cmhagb [dot] org. There is no set fee for this program, however, donations to the program in care of “CMHA Grey Bruce” are always gratefully appreciated.