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Canadian Association for School Health. Inaugural Pre-conference National Community of Practice Symposium, April 21, 2008 Gatineau, Quebec. Proceedings from Creating Connections in School Mental Health 2006. An International Symposium on Progressive Efforts in School-Based

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canadian association for school health
Canadian Association for School Health

Inaugural Pre-conference

National Community of Practice

Symposium, April 21, 2008

Gatineau, Quebec

proceedings from creating connections in school mental health 2006
Proceedings fromCreating Connections inSchool Mental Health 2006

An International Symposium on

Progressive Efforts in School-Based

Mental Health Programming

goals of the day
Goals of the Day
  • Increase capacity in Alberta relevant to School Mental Health.
  • Engage members of the Education sector, along with supportive allied professionals in child-serving sectors, in developmental discussions.
  • Generate recommendations and record what enhanced capacity in School Mental Health could look like, regionally and provincially.
specific objectives
Specific Objectives
  • Present information on learnings and outcomes
  • Generate relevant recommendations and desired outcomes for development in Alberta
  • Provide impetus for the establishment of an Alberta “Community of Practice”.
  • Explore opportunities for collaboration
  • 60 Alberta based front line and management level education and health/school health practitioners
  • 15 Panel presenters (Alberta-based and international)
The Importance of Infrastructure
  • Bridging Research to Practice
  • Whole School Mental Health/Universal Prevention Programming
  • School-based Service Delivery
  • Critical Issues in Mental Health/Education Integration
symposium format
Symposium Format
  • 4-5 Leaders/Practitioners in the thematic area
  • 10 minutes each to highlight 3 most significant learnings, 3 most prominent outcomes
  • 20 small group discussion to generate 3 recommendations and 3 potentially desirable outcomes from these recommendations
whole school mental health
Whole School Mental Health
  • or- School Mental Health in Health Promoting Schools
  • or-School Mental Health within Comprehensive School Health Framework
panel presenters
Panel Presenters
  • Helen Butler, Mgr. Prof. Learning, Adol. Health and Social Environments, Ctre. for Adol. Health, Melbourne
  • Jennifer Axelrod, Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
  • Caroline Clauss-Ehlers, Dept. Counselling Psych., Rutgers, New Jersey
  • Louise Rowling, U of Sydney, Australia; President, Intercamhs
  • Additional commentary by Mark Weist, Director, Center for School Mental Health, University of Maryland and Carl Paternite, Director School based Mental Health Programs, Dept.of Psych., U of Miami in Ohio




Whole School/


School Health

School Environment/Ethos


  • &Practice-Unidimensional, collaborative knowledge creation, transfer & exchange
  • ID innovation by single, and school based practitioners & offer resources re: evaluation and dissemination
  • Action-based, built on existing structures, where possible
  • Link to school reform/school change/effective schools literature


research 2
Research (2)
  • Integrally involve researchers continuously
  • Compile provincial cost-benefit analysis of impacts of smh in relation to key factors eg. justice, hospitalization, medical leave
  • Engage teachers as reflective practitioners-just just for outside experts to do
  • Collect and collate baseline & ongoing data on prevention programming to track progress
  • Build data base re: school based healthy policies and practices and track changes
what we know in alberta 1
What we know…in Alberta (1)
  • Key Issues (Advancing the Mental Health Agenda, April 2004)
    • Service capacity and gaps, especially for children
    • Stigmatization and inequity-creates significant barriers to treatment
    • Funding inadequacy
    • Need for integrated service delivery
    • Need for decentralized, multi-provider service environment
    • Need to address organizational barriers to integrating services
research 3
Research (3)
  • Investigate impacts of collective efficacy/professional satisfaction/school connectedness (of students and school staff) on school climate and connectedness with academic success and well-being.
  • Make Social Emotional Learning a mandated component of curriculum
  • Focus on prevention efforts, implementing protective factors, starting in pre-K.
  • Boards of Education invest in the philosophy and make it an integral part of their mandate
  • Ensure cross ministerial policy and resources to promote and support collaboration at all levels


  • Integrate into mh promotion initiatives to reduce stigma to staff, students and community
  • PD for teachers on mh and mh promotion essential:
    • connection between education and mh
    • role of educators in mh prevention and promotion
    • understanding of issues, responses, resources and self-care


training 2
Training (2)
  • Pre-service training
  • Resources to support school communities to learn from and share with each other in expertise and successful approaches
  • Cross-sectoral training, co-developed and co-delivered
  • Systematically provide structured opportunities for school staff to reflect on how everyday practice promotes mh


  • Adapt and implement developed whole school mh promotion approaches eg Mind Matters, Gatehouse Project (Australia)
  • Integrate knowledge and practice regarding academic and non-academic barriers to learning and cognitive functioning
  • More school-friendly, school based support across the continuum


practice 2
Practice (2)
  • Re: whole school practice-review existing “templates” for programming and services and re-educate stakeholders re: their implementation, emphasizing flexibility to meet the needs of various settings and cultures
  • Develop processes which help parents to be heard rather than blamed
  • Build on the concepts within “healthy school communities”-use consistent language


practice 3
Practice (3)
  • Focus on whole school community, including students and all adults
  • Develop a community of practice regionally, provincially, and beyond
  • Listen to the ideas of educators, students and community members, and involve them in solution finding
  • Enlist media involvement
  • Create safe environments for discussion


gloria wells
Gloria Wells
  • Director, Collaborative Initiatives, Rocky View School Division, Airdrie, Alberta
  • Executive Director, Wellsprings Education and Human Service Consulting, Calgary, Alberta
  • Contact: gwells@rockyview.ab.caor