VICTORIA -- Vancouver Island University (VIU) is expanding its Mental Health Worker Program to meet the rising demand for skilled workers across the province.

“It‘s high because the needs are high in the communities,” says Doug Carter, VIU instructor for the Community Mental Health Worker Program.

The six-month program is typically done in one cohort per year, but VIU has added a second cohort to meet demand. The program consists of eight core courses, including a practicum, and is all done online.

“They’re taught how to build helping relationships and working relationships with other professionals and then apply that to a practicum setting,” says Carter.

Students are taught health-care basics and are trained in non-violent crisis interventions. They will also be certified in first aid and food safe.

Once certified, students are provided with numerous frontline jobs opportunities.

“Everything from supporting seniors, people with addictions and mental health issues – as well as at-risk youth and the homeless,” says Carter.

There is space available for 28 students and the next program begins March 15, 2021.

For more information, visit VIU’s website here.