Education & Resources for Nurses Interested in Mental Health & Substance Use

Many nurses of all designations are interested in learning more about mental health and substance use diagnoses, treatments, and care. The following is a list of websites, databases, and other learning resources available to nurses to learn more about these health conditions.

Continuing Education & Certificate Programs

Athabasca University - Adult Mental Health, Mental Illness and the Approach to Care in Community Settings
This program was developed primarily for nurse practitioners but may also be of interest to registered nurses and registered psychiatric nurses. This course reviews the foundational concepts of health promotion as well as mental health illnesses and prevention and the diagnosing of mental health conditions in the community setting. This course does not discuss mental health care in an acute setting. This non-credit online course takes approximately 45 hours to complete and culminates with a certificate of completion.
 

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) - Continuing Education
CAMH offers continuing education courses for all health care professionals at different levels of working with individuals and patients experiencing mental health and/or substance use conditions. Course offerings include preliminary fundamentals in understanding addiction and mental health, buprenorphine and naloxone treatment for opioid use, working with families affected by substance use, interactions between psychiatric medications and other commonly used substances, the recovery-oriented approach, and much more. Nurses of all backgrounds can search the course directory to see what appeals to them and their practice. Please note that there is a cost associated with most courses and registration is required.
 

TRU Open Learning - Interprofessional Mental Health Practice Certificate
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Open Learning delivers this course on interprofessional mental health practice, ideal for fourth-year nursing students, nurses, as well as other health care providers looking to build their knowledge for working with people who experience mental health issues. This certificate program is offered through a blend of online and practicum components, and individuals must meet a minimum GPA in all course components to receive the certificate.
 

TRU Open Learning - Interprofessional Substance Use Practice Certificate
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Open Learning delivers this course on interprofessional substance use practice, ideal for fourth-year nursing students, nurses, as well as other health care providers looking to build their knowledge for working with people who experience substance use conditions. This certificate program is offered through a blend of online and practicum components, and individuals must meet a minimum GPA in all course components to receive the certificate.
 

TRU Open Learning - Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing (HLTH 2931)
This Thompson Rivers University Open Learning course is available to second-year nursing students or higher, as well as to nurses of any designation with a letter of recommendation from the BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) or with approval from the faculty’s Associate Dean. This self-paced online course includes sections on the role of the nurse in psychiatric and mental health care, the nurse-client relationship, stress and anxiety, mood disorders, schizophrenia, organic and acquired mental disorders, mental health for special populations, and inpatient, outpatient and community health and treatment.
 

Douglas College - Continuing Education Certificate Programs
Douglas College offers a variety of multi-course continuing education programs for nurses of all designations in the fields of mental health and substance use. Certificate programs focus on community mental health, emergency mental health, mental health nursing for LPNs, mental health nursing for RNs, and a nursing refresher program for RPNs. Within these programs, courses include therapeutic relationships, assessment and promotion of mental health, clinical practice, knowledge transfer, mental health diagnosis in emergency, and psychosocial rehabilitation. Students who complete these programs receive a Douglas College Continuing Education program certificate.

E-Learning Modules & Courses

BC Centre on Disease Control (BCCDC) - Naloxone Administration
The BCCDC Naloxone administration e-learning course is housed on the PHSA Learning Hub site. This e-learning course takes approximately 25 minutes to complete and is intended for anyone looking to learn more about opioids and the signs of overdose as well as naloxone and how it works. Review the BCCDC page on Naloxone Administration for more information.
 

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) – Mental Health 101
Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) provides free courses and modules for those interested in learning more about mental health conditions, addiction, concurrent disorders, harm reduction, stigma and more. These Mental Health 101 courses are intended for nurses and other health care providers as well as the broader public who do not have a background or speciality in mental health care.
 

Concurrent Disorders (CD) Learning Series Playlist – Alberta Health
The Concurrent Disorders Learning Series provided by Alberta Health Services is an inventory of videos and self-guided learning activities that cover topics such as addiction, developing the therapeutic relationship, screening and assessment, crisis intervention, harm reductions, case management and more. Topics are presented by a number of clinical and subject matter experts from across Canada.
 

Healthcare Excellence Canada - Mental Health Modules
Healthcare Excellence Canada provides modules for health care providers through their patient safety education program. These e-learning modules can be downloaded for free and cover five areas: mental health care and patient safety, suicide and self-harm prevention, absconding and missing patients, violence and aggressive behaviour, and seclusion and restraint. These courses are intended for nurses and other health professionals who would like an introduction to mental health care and treatment, and who are interested in some basic teaching methods to share their knowledge with their teams.
 

The Kettle Society - Mental Health First Aid Training
The Kettle Society provides a Mental Health First Aid training course is intended for adults and health care professionals who assist other adults experiencing mental health and/or substance use conditions. This course focuses on four common mental health related conditions, specifically those related to substance use, as well as mood disorders, trauma, and psychosis. Certification is available upon completion of two courses. There is a fee for this course.
 

MDBriefCase - Suicide: Facing the Difficult Topic Together, Empowering Nurses, Instilling Hope in Clients
This suicide prevention module is accredited by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and is specifically designed for nurses and nurse practitioners who wish to learn more about suicide prevention and intervention. This course will help nursing professionals to better recognize the signs of suicide when doing patient and client assessments and will discuss the nurse’s role and responsibility when it comes to suicide risk and mental health care.
 

Mental Health Commission of Canada - Mental Health First Aid Course
The Mental Health First Aid program was first developed in Australia in 2001. Since then, it has spread to many countries around the world. This website provides a list of virtual and in-person course offerings across Canada and is recommended for nurses of all designations to take if they work directly with patients or clients with mental health conditions.
 

Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) - E-Learning Modules
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) hosts a number of free e-learning modules through their website on topics including addiction, engaging clients with substance use disorders, engaging Indigenous people who use substances, engaging youth who use substances, supporting clients with tobacco use cessation, equity and the social determinants of health in practice, and much more. Browse their e-learning page to discover all the modules and find links to take the class.
 

UBC Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) - Addiction Care and Treatment Online Course
This addiction care and treatment course is a 12–15-hour free, online course hosted by the University of British Columbia's Continuing Professional Development and was developed in partnership with the BC Centre on Substance Use, UBC CPD and the UBC School of Nursing. The target audience is for nurses and nurse practitioners and other health care professionals. This course is available on any device at any time and takes learners through modules on different substance use disorders, understanding concurrent substance use and mental health disorders, assessment and safe prescribing, interventions, ethical implications and more.

General Learning

BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) - Learning Resources
The BC College of Nurses and Midwives (BCCNM) offers a host of resources for LPNs, NPs, RNs and RPNs. Visit their designation-specific resource pages for information on cannabis, controlled substances, the overdose crisis and more: LPN Resources, NP Resources, RN Resources and RPN Resources.
 

BC Centre on Disease Control (BCCDC) – People Who Use Substances (During COVID-19) for Health Professionals
The BC Centre on Disease Control (BCCDC) provides general information and resources for health care professionals who work with individuals who use substances during the time of COVID-19. Visit this page or the People Who Use Substances page designed for the general public.
 

BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU)
The BC Centre on Substance Use is committed to strengthening education opportunities for health care professionals in BC to learn about substance use disorders, treatment, and care. BCCSU provides multiple training opportunities such as an opioid addiction treatment and support program, addiction care and treatment online certificate, and more.
 

Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs (CAPUD)
The Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs is the national association for people who use substances across Canada. Their board is entirely comprised of people who use substances. This association acts as the voice of people who use substances and advocates on their behalf. The CAPUD website maintains various resources available for all to view. Nurses may be interested in learning more from their drug policy and safe supply pages.
 

Dealing with Depression
Dealing with Depression is an online resource for teens and young adults to learn about depression and coping mechanisms. This website resource is based on the Dealing with Depression: Antidepressant Skills for Teens guide by Drs. Bilsker, Gilbert, Worling and Garland, and is supported by the BC PHSA, BC Children's Hospital, and the provincial government. This website provides useful information for health care professionals looking to learn more about problem solving, goal setting, health eating and exercise to help teens with depression.
 

First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) - Mental Wellness and Substance Use
The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) provides mental health and substance use related information pertinent to all nurses and health care professionals, Indigenous peoples, and the broader community. FNHA defines mental health and substance use and explains why developing knowledge in this area is important for all nurses and care providers. Also review the FNHA Policy on Mental Health and Wellness and Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction pages.
 

Harm Reduction Coalition
The US-based Harm Reduction Coalition hosts an online resource centre with information available to the public. Their resources include brochures, fact sheets, webinars, training manuals and graphics to help people learn about a wide array of substance use and related topics and conditions.
 

Heads Up Guys
Heads Up Guys is a University of British Columbia (UBC) program providing online resources to support men fighting depression around the world. The website includes many useful tips and tools to better understand the symptoms of depression in men, where to find resources and supports, and different forms of treatment.
 

Moms Stop the Harm
Moms Stop the Harm is a group of Canadians whose families have been impacted by substance use. This group advocates for changes to policy and also provides peer support and information resources for other families and the general public. Anyone who has lost a family member or friend to substance use, has lived experience with substance use, or is close with another member of this group can become a network member. Others can join as advocates or professional allies to become actively involved in working with this group. Mom Stop the Harm resources include videos, brochures, and more.
 

Toward the Heart
Toward the Heart is a BCCDC harm reduction services website with information and resources on naloxone programs, safe supply, substitution therapies, supervised consumption, opioid, stimulant, and alcohol overdose, and more. Any member of the public can access this site and its resources. Nurses and health care professionals are encouraged to visit their health professionals page which features alerts, updates, and more specific information sheets, best practices and procedures, and research.

Organizations

Anxiety Canada
Anxiety Canada produces free online, evidence-based resources on anxiety. Learn more about adult and youth anxiety, anxiety in the workplace, anxiety in pregnant and new mothers, anxiety in men, common anxiety disorders, treatment options, explaining fight-flight-freeze to others, and much more.
 

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) - BC Division
The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) BC has a wealth of information and resources on understanding mental health conditions and on improving mental health for all British Columbians. The CMHA BC website includes in-depth information summaries, videos, journals, campaigns and services on subjects including Indigenous mental health, children and teen mental health, evaluating depression and anxiety, substance use conditions, psychosis, and much more.
 

Foundry - For Health Care Professionals
Foundry provides mental health and social services care to children and youth across British Columbia. Foundry has an excellent website with information for health care professionals to learn more about providing mental health and wellness care to youth 24 years of age and younger. Foundry’s website includes resources for all care providers to better understand how substance use and mental health conditions affect people in their early years.
 

Harm Reduction Nurses Association (HRNA)
The Harm Reduction Nurses Association (HRNA) is a Canadian association that advocates for harm reduction nursing practice through research, education and government relations. Nurses of all designations can apply for regular membership with HRNA. Nurses are required to be registered with a regulatory body and are involved in or interested in knowing more about harm reduction and substance use. Student nurses can also become members.
 

Mood Disorders Society of Canada
The Mood Disorders Society of Canada website includes a number of educational resources on topics such as depression, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, cannabis use, workplace mental health, medications, mental health comorbidities, combating stigma and more. Check out their Continuing Education to see the full listing of programs and resources for health care professionals.

Professional Development Workshops

Association for the Collaboration to End Stigma (ACES) Anti-Stigma Workshops
NNPBC in collaboration with the Association for the Collaboration to End Stigma (ACES) are happy to offer nurses access to anti-stigma workshops. Workshops are provided both online and in-person (walking; not during COVID-19) and provide nurses and nursing students with a collaborative approach to understanding stigma, and how it affects people with mental health conditions and who use substances. Workshops are delivered by individuals with lived experience.
 

Harm Reduction Coalition – Training & Capacity Building
The Harm Reduction Coalition has been sharing harm reduction strategies and information for more than 25 years. They offer customized training tailored to your group and offer workshops on a variety of topics including the foundations of harm reduction, overdose prevention, engaging with people who use substances, motivational interviewing, and much more. Visit their website to learn more about the workshops and how to book for your team.

Research & Databases

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services
The BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) website is maintained by the BC Public Health Services Authority (PHSA) and provides information on complex mental health and substance use conditions. This service also includes information on providing trauma-informed care and understanding concurrent disorders.
 

Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)
The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) maintains a robust directory of data and reports on all health care topics including mental health and substance use. Review these reports by concern, or even filter to BC or other regions in Canada to learn more. This database is particularly useful for nurses in research and academic roles.
 

Government of BC – Mental Health and Substance Use Supports in BC
This database provided by the provincial government includes introductory information on a number of mental health and substance use conditions, as well as information on access to clinical supports. Nurses of all designations can use this database when referring patients and clients to support services.
 

Here to Help - A Health Promotion Perspective
Here to Help is a project of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Substance Use Information and includes an online database with information on mental health and substance use for people experiencing related conditions, as well as for peer and professional supports. Learn more about different conditions, how our language affects others, human approaches to care, and how overall heath is comprised of physical, mental and social factors.

Resources

NNPBC - De-Stigmatizing Language
Information and resources for all nurses about the importance of using de-stigmatizing language in practice including ways to incorporate de-stigmatizing language into clinical, research, and everyday settings.
 

NNPBC - Peer Support Workers and the Opioid Crisis
Peer support work provides individuals with lived experience the opportunity to work other people who use substances and to help them use substances in a safe manner. Peer support work is an integral harm reduction strategy. Information and resources for all nurses to learn more about peer support work and the mental health supports needed to assist these individuals.
 

NNPBC - Safe Supply
Information for all nurses to learn about the need for safe supply to prevent unnecessary overdose deaths with a regulated substance supply.
 

Visions Journal
Visions is a quarterly online magazine for people with mental health and substance use conditions, as well as for health care professionals and the broader public to better understand mental health and substance use issues and care. All previous volumes of the magazine can be found on their website, each with a focus on important topics such as opioids, alcohol and other substance use, recovery and stigma, mental health disorders, Indigenous mental health, LGBTQ2S+ mental health, language, interventions and supports, and much more.