SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Kevin Jackson, Glenn Rossman

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Bell and Bell Aliant fund mental health first aid training at College of the North Atlantic

ST. JOHN'S, NL, Jan. 22, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Bell and Bell Aliant announced $15,000 in funding for the implementation of an innovative mental health initiative with College of the North Atlantic (CNA).

Funded through the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund, the gift will enable the college to certify several staff members as instructors for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training, a program under the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Each of the certified instructors will then deliver the MHFA training three times over the next year, with the potential to reach approximately 200 colleagues, students and community groups from across the province.

Mental Health First Aid provides help 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.

"As a college we want to ensure the best learning and working environment for our students and staff. Providing a mental health support network is a key component to creating that environment," said Ann Marie Vaughan, CNA's President and CEO. "The training provided by funding from the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund helps us to be proactive in identifying the internal and external services and resources that can assist all members of our college community."

The Bell Let's Talk Community Fund is part of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative which provides grants to organizations, hospitals and agencies focused on improving access to mental health care in their communities.

"This partnership with the college demonstrates our commitment to support mental health initiatives that will have a meaningful impact in communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador," said Geoff Davis, Regional Vice-President of sales in Newfoundland and Labrador, Bell  Aliant. "Mental health first aid training will help their staff recognize and react to the signs of distress, anxiety, depression and other related issues so students can receive early access to care and services."

"Bell is extremely pleased to lend our support to College of the North Atlantic and the 60 other community organizations across the country that were part of the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund in 2012," said Mary Deacon, Chair of the Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative. "These groups are truly making a difference at the grassroots level. We're very proud to be helping them provide much needed resources to enhance mental health services and programs for those affected by mental illness."

The Bell Let's Talk mental health initiative is a five-year charitable program that promotes mental health across Canada through the Bell Let's Talk anti-stigma campaign and support for community care, research and workplace best practices. To learn more, please visit Bell.ca/LetsTalk.

Bell Let's Talk Community Fund 2013
The third annual Bell Let's Talk Community Fund launched on January 14. The Community Fund will distribute $1 million in 2013 to local organizations across Canada that are working to end stigma and increasing access to mental health care. The application period is open until March 31.
During the past two years, the Bell Let's Talk Community Fund has provided more than $2 million to 109 organizations across the country through grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000.

About Bell Aliant
Bell Aliant is one of North America's largest regional communications providers and the first company in Canada to cover an entire city with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology with its FibreOP™ services. Through its operating entities it serves customers in six Canadian provinces with innovative information, communication and technology services including voice, data, Internet, video and value-added business solutions. Bell Aliant's employees deliver the highest quality customer service, choice and convenience.

About College of the North Atlantic
College of the North Atlantic is Newfoundland and Labrador's public college. It is one of the largest post-secondary educational and skills training centres in Atlantic Canada, with a history dating back nearly 50 years. Today it has 17 campus locations throughout Newfoundland and Labrador and one in the Middle East State of Qatar. It offers nearly 100 full-time program offerings and more than 300 part-time courses to some 20,000 students each year in: Academics, Applied Arts, Business Studies, Engineering Technology, Health Sciences, Industrial Trades, Information Technology, Natural Resources and Tourism.

SOURCE Bell Canada

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