A specialized course put on in Sudbury teaches people about mental health first aid in the workplace.

It's designed to show workers and employers how to recognize the signs and ways to overcome the stigma surrounding mental health.

Much like physical first aid, facilitator Don Langlois says there is a lot to learn in the two-day course.

“We know that people struggling with mental health don't always know they are themselves, don't have that self-realization, and we want to encourage people to feel more comfortable and have that dialogue and support individuals so that they can get the help and access to resources that they require.” said Langlois.

Linda Erskine is an employment consultant taking the course and says she's learning valuable information about promoting a respectful mental health culture in the workplace.

“Sometimes you might wonder: why is that person reacting that way or in a different way? And I think it will give us a better understanding that maybe they are going through something, so we need to be cognizance of that.” said Erskine.

As part of Healthy Workplace Month, DMC Mining Services and KGHM Group teamed up with Workplace Safety North to offer the free course, which filled up quickly.

Angele Poitras is a community engagement specialist at Workplace Safety North.

“When we say to our clients, our community, ‘have that safety conversation,’ included in that is to have that psychological safety as well, because going back, we are one person, body, mind and soul. So let’s not forget about that, it's extremely important.” said Poitras.

“If you see something, say something. By saying that you could really be opening the door, you could really be saving a life or helping someone's overall health and wellbeing.” said Langlois.

Organizers say they hope courses like this encourage employers and employees to be more understanding and responsive to mental health needs.