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With rural and remote beginnings, a new VCH-led learning platform presents nationally


What started as a resource to support rural and remote communities in the Coastal Community of Care is now used across the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) region and is garnering national attention.

In its first year, the VCH Mental Health and Substance Use (MHSU) Learning Portal:

  • Is attracting more than 300 new users each month.
  • Expanded to all communities of care in response to interest from staff and medical staff.
  • Transitioned to a collaboration between VCH's Indigenous Health, Regional MHSU and the Regional Addictions Program (RAP).

“The MHSU Learning Portal offers learning material to guide a person's journey of practicing self-reflection and self-critique, which are essential in achieving cultural safety in health care. Reflecting on our practice is a critical aspect of this work, and it takes dedicated time, effort and commitment to create an environment of cultural safety where Indigenous Peoples feel safe and respected when seeking our services. The MHSU Learning Portal can be one of many tools a person can use in their life-long journey of unlearning and learning," shares Tammy Brumwell, Team Lead, Indigenous Mental Wellness and Substance Use, Indigenous Health at VCH.

Survey respondents say the portal is user-friendly, easy to navigate and has important information that helps them address individual learning needs to better support clients and their families in their journey to wellness.

Presenting the MHSU Learning Portal to a national audience

Last month, we were invited to present our learning portal at a virtual webinar hosted by the Canadian Federation for Mental Health Nurses. Attendees included mental health/crisis response nurses, nursing instructors, nursing educators and assistant professors from across Canada.

Our session focused how to optimize the MHSU Learning Portal:

  • Continuing to develop and implement regional communications.
  • Including in the VCH All Staff Regional Orientation.
  • Keeping the content up-to-date and relevant.
  • Including more content on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and cultural safety.
  • Supporting clinicians in Coastal Rural to improve competence and confidence in substance use care.

These recommendations were part of an evaluation of the portal's first four months by Natasha Parent, graduate student at the University of British Columbia, with mentorship by Dominic Chan, Manager, North Shore MHSU, and as part of a practicum opportunity funded by Lions Gate Hospital Foundation.

We took immediate action and we addressed the first three recommendations in one year. Next, the steering committee will prioritize the remaining two recommendations.

“The MHSU Learning Portal provides an important tool for collecting, maintaining and broadcasting important substance use training throughout our health authority," says Piotr Majkowski, Regional Lead, VCH RAP and Regional MHSU. “The Regional Addictions Program looks forward to collaborating further on the development and categorization of content for the portal."

Access the VCH MHSU Learning Portal.

SOURCE: With rural and remote beginnings, a new VCH-led learning platform presents nationally ( )
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