Issues relating to addictions and mental health are highly prevalent in Canadian society. One in five Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetimes. The remaining four will have a friend, family member or colleague who will experience mental illness or addiction. One in ten Canadians aged fifteen years and older report symptoms consistent with alcohol or illicit drug dependence. About 20% of people with a mental disorder have a co-occurring substance use problem.
As first responders, it is critical to possess knowledge, understanding and empathy about these topics. This course will address issues relating to the development of addictions, effects, signs and symptoms and response, as well as seeking to provide a greater understanding to the differences between mental health, mental illness and mental disorders. Finally, the course will familiarize students with concurrent disorders, a term used when a person has both a substance related disorder and a mental health disorder.