More Feet on the Ground provides mental health training for students

More Feet on the Ground is a province-wide online tool designed to help Ontario students understand, recognize and respond to mental health concerns.

The website is designed as a training tool that allows students to better support anyone who is struggling with mental health, and it also helps them to better understand their own mental health. While the site is an essential tool for student staff and student leaders who may respond to mental health crises, it’s also a useful opportunity for almost any postsecondary student.

“It’s a really hands-on way for students to respond to concerns about themselves or their friends” said Melodie Shick-Porter, director of Brock’s Health Services. “More Feet on the Ground is recommended for all students.”

The training consists of three major steps: recognize, respond and refer. By progressing through these three steps, a student can develop the skills required to recognize signs that someone (including the student undergoing the training) might need help, how to support that person effectively, and how to properly refer them to the right resources. Shick-Porter discussed the importance of referring anyone with concerns to the proper resources to make sure that they have appropriate professional help, and mentioned that the resources outlined on Brock’s section of the More Feet on the Ground site are specific to the Brock and Niagara communities.

In discussing referrals, Shick-Porter also emphasized that Student Health Services, Personal Counseling and the Student Development Centre have a close relationship. A student with any sort of concern is encouraged to go to whichever service they feel most comfortable with. All three services are then equipped to support the student, and to refer them if needed so they will end up in the right place.

For a first step, any of these resources will be able to help students appropriately, so they don’t need to worry or stress about making sure that they pick the “right” resource; any of the resources will be able to guide them to where they need to be.

“Don’t worry where you go; we will make sure you end up where you need to be,” said Shick-Porter. “Every door is the right door at Brock.”

More Feet on the Ground was developed in the Niagara Region, but has since expanded to postsecondary institutions throughout Ontario. Many Ontario colleges and universities now have their own sections on the website. Each section offers the More Feet on the Ground Training, but adapts certain things (such as phone numbers and contact information for resources) to make the training more specific to each institution.

Shick-Porter said that she thinks that the training program’s student testimonials are one of the most important aspects, as they give users a chance to hear stories from real students and learn about what they have gone through.

“We believe it’s really important for students to hear other students talk about what they have been through, so we made sure to include student testimonials in the training” said Shick-Porter.

Shick-Porter also mentioned that, as a next step now that More Feet on the Ground has seen success, Brock has developed a Mental Health and Wellness website. This website builds upon More Feet on the Ground, and is designed as a central spot where students can go online to learn more about mental health. After (or even before or while) completing the training from More Feet on the Ground, students can check out this website to learn more about mental health.

More Feet on the Ground can be accessed at morefeetontheground.ca. The specific Brock section of the website is brock.morefeetontheground.ca. Shick-Porter can be contacted at mshickporter@brocku.ca. The new mental health website is located at mentalhealth.brockubeta.ca.

Photo Courtesy of More Feet on the Ground

Photo Courtesy of More Feet on the Ground

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