Rose Ceci is a certified psychiatric mental health nurse with the Canadian Mental Health Association. She teaches the online Community Mental Health Certificate at Kompass Professional Development
Mental health is a broad field, with a lot of complex challenges. In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health problem—or know someone who is struggling—so this is an issue that affects us all.
But if you're working in a front-line, community-serving role, you're probably experiencing the consequences of our mental health crisis up close, and in very personal ways.
For example, people who work in law enforcement, health care, education, and social services, deal with these challenges on a daily basis. And often, without the necessary training to understand and support those in need.
This is why mental health training is so important. Whether you're dealing with your own diagnosis, caring for a loved one, or want to improve your professional skills—quality mental health education is the first step.
Enter instructor Rose Ceci. Rose is a certified psychiatric mental health nurse with over 18 years experience, who teaches the Community Mental Health Certificate at Kompass.
We spoke to Rose about why she's teaching this program, what to expect in class, and how everyone can benefit from this kind of training.
Here are the 5 most important takeaways from that conversation.
1. Working in mental health can be inspiring, enlightening
We all know there's a stigma surrounding poor mental health. Lack of awareness has led to the proliferation of many mental health myths—which paint a very dark and distorted picture of what it means to suffer from mental illness.
But there's another, very different side to the story. Rose has been working as a psychiatric nurse (mostly with adolescents) for almost 2 decades.
When we asked what inspires her, she talked about the amazing resilience she sees in patients...all the incredible, very personal stories of perseverance and strength.
Rose says being part of these stories is far more inspiring than most people realize.
"Working with people who are struggling with a mental illness is a humbling experience. Everyone has a story to tell, a unique experience, a different struggle. I am always amazed at people’s ability to be resilient."
2. People from all backgrounds benefit from mental health training
One of the main things we wanted to find out, is who takes the mental health certificate Rose teaches? Where do the students come from, and what fields do they work in?
It turns out, her students come from all backgrounds, and all over the world (the training is online). And this makes sense, given the diversity of the field.
Rose says people enroll for various reasons: to improve their skills at work, to better understand a condition they're facing, or to start careers in mental health. The mix of students really adds value to the course, as everyone learns from each other's experiences.
"The students who take this course come from all over, and have different levels of experience.The information provided in the course makes it accessible for anyone who wants to learn about mental health. We teach fundamental information in mental health that can be used across different fields."
3. What specific mental health skills do students learn in class?
So, if you're looking to improve your knowledge of mental health, what specific skills should you focus on building? What competencies will you walk away with, after taking the kind of mental health training Rose delivers?
Rose explains that her program is broken down into 5 modules, which explore today's most common mental health conditions and issues.
"In addition to learning the fundamentals of various mental illnesses, students walk away with a greater ability to recognize and examine biases toward mental illness.
They also develop a better awareness of the resources available in their own communities. These takeaways are incredibly beneficial to students, on both a personal and professional level."
The 12-week online Community Mental Health Certificate Rose teaches covers a wide range of topics:
Youth Addiction and Mental Health:
- Recognizing signs of poor mental health in youth
- Mental health first aid techniques
- How adolescent mental health issues impact academics, violence, depression, family life, etc.
Mental Health, Culture & Modern Society:
- Understanding the mental health stigma
- How your own biases impact the way you relate to people suffering from mental illness
- Mental health challenges of marginalized groups, such as Aboriginal communities (effects of current health care policy)
Concurrent, Personality & Impulse Control Disorders:
- Understanding co-occuring addiction and mental health problems
- Different types and classifications of personality and impulse control disorders
- Latest research on how these disorders can be managed
Mood Disorders & Depression:
- Understanding common mood disorders, and their connection to other psychological problems
- Theories, latest research, and controversies around depression
- Cognitive, social, and biological theories of treatment
Psychotic & Dissociative Disorders:
- The current standard in diagnosing mental disorders
- Mental health assessment tools
- Understanding schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, amnesia, and more
"Some students seek out training because they need these skills to perform better at work. Others are preparing themselves for employment in mental health. There are also students with lived experience who are trying to become more educated."
4. Online format keeps everyone connected & engaged
There's always the risk with online training that students will become bored, disengaged, and never finish the course. It can be challenging to meet each student's needs, keep everyone connected, and make the experience feel personal.
Rose says her online mental health training includes discussion groups, debate, and plenty of interaction with the instructor. Everyone has the chance to bring their own concerns and questions to the table.
They all learn from each other—particularly because the students are all so different.
"The best thing about the online format is that it's flexible. Students complete the courses at their own pace, and can always reach the instructor if they have questions.
I closely monitor the course content and assignments to ensure the information is current and relevant to the students.
In the end, each person brings their own unique experience to the course—this is what makes it so meaningful and engaging for the individual, and the group as a whole."
5. Our mental health challenges are many & growing
Years of under-funding, stigmatization, and lack of education has created mental health crises in many communities across the globe. Everywhere you look, you see the consequences of these trends.
And the problem is only getting bigger, and more complex. Rose says one of the main reasons she started teaching the Community Mental Health Certificate was to share her knowledge and experience with others.
This sharing of tools, research, and practical strategies is her way of giving back and building awareness. It's a really important step toward tackling the many mental health challenges we're up against.
"We are facing many daunting challenges in this field: lack of funding, lack of services, long wait lists—especially for youth.
We are also witnessing a crisis among those who use opioids, and there needs to be more knowledge and services available.
Additionally, there are far too few services in the north, to assist those in Aboriginal communities."
So just one question remains: What challenges are you looking to tackle? How will mental health training help you make a difference in your community? Or help you do your job better?
Find your answer by exploring the mental health courses offered through Kompass Professional Development. Click below to learn more about instructor Rose Ceci, the curriculum, and our unique online learning system. We're here to help!