Sandy Balascak in the halls of the Agassiz Centre for Education. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer)

Agassiz administrator to teach ‘psychological first aid’ course

ACE principal Sandy Balascak will be sharing how to help others deal with a mental health crisis

Agassiz Centre for Education principal Sandy Balascak will be teaching the public about a new kind of first aid at two UFV courses this fall.

Balascak was first introduced to the Red Cross’ psychological first aid course in the spring, and quickly realized the value of being able to help people with their mental health as well as their physical health.

“For example, you come across a car accident, nobody expects you to do surgery; they expect you to deal with it at the time, then put that person onto a hospital,” Balascak said about traditional first aid.

“Psychological first aid is somewhat the same.”

A major component of psychological first aid — or PFA — is being able to recognize when someone is having a mental health crisis, whether that’s from shock, grief or accumulated stress.

“If you’re bleeding, that’s obvious,” she said. “The mental health is often the less obvious of the components of a crisis, so just learning to search for that less obvious … and understand the impact that mental health can have in those situations.”

RELATED: ACE principal to teach young educators how to understand at-risk youth

Balascak’s Red Cross course, which will be available on Oct. 5 and Nov. 30 at UFV, will not only focus on helping other people through their mental health crisis and connecting them to resources, but also on self care.

“If I help you with a broken arm, my arm’s going to be fine,” Balascak explained. “But if you help somebody with a mental health issue, it can be hard on you. So part of it is self-care, and recognizing types of stress.”

Being able to manage one’s own mental health can also help people in the course be good role models for others in the community, Balascak said.

“If, as a PFA provider, you’re looking after yourself and doing well, then others around you will begin to model that behaviour, whether they’re PFA providers or not,” she said.

People interested in taking the psychological first aid course can register by calling 1-888-823-8734 or by visiting UFV in person.

Balascak said she is also planning on holding the course during a Fraser Cascade school district ProD day, so that teachers can learn about how they can help their students during a mental health crisis as well.

“Understanding mental health issues is huge for me,” she said. “So it’s just getting people to look and understand the impact that mental health can have in those situations.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Control of Parliament could rest on a handful of ridings – including Agassiz and Harrison’s

UFV political science professor says Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon result could play key role

Drivers warn of slippery conditions on the Coquihalla

Snow is falling at the Summit of the Coquihalla

Three-hour parking coming to Agassiz’s Pioneer Avenue

The three-hour parking spots will be along Pioneer Park in the downtown area

Chilliwack man pleads guilty in crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged under Motor Vehicle Act for accident that killed Kelowna school teacher

VIDEO: Mansbridge documentary to feature Hope, B.C.

New CBC film focuses on how Canadians are feeling prior to federal election

VIDEO: Agassiz lights candles in memory of missing, murdered Indigenous women

The Sisters in Spirit vigil took place at the Agassiz United Church

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read