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Mental Health Awareness in Ontario School Boards

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1 Mental Health Awareness in Ontario School Boards
Suggestions for Supporting Student Mental Health and Well-Being Welcome to the School Mental Health ASSIST webinar series. My name is Kathy Short. I’m a Clinical Child Psychologist and the Director for School Mental Health ASSIST. This is the first session in a four-part webinar series. This session is meant for all Educator audiences. DRAFT School Mental Health ASSIST Webinar Series School Mental Health ASSIST

2 School Mental Health ASSIST Équipe d’appui en santé mentale pour les écoles
is a provincial team designed to help Ontario school boards to support student mental health and well-being Briefly, School Mental Health ASSIST is an implementation support team that is designed to help Ontario school boards to promote student mental health and well-being, within the context of overall learning and achievement. School Mental Health ASSIST

3 Three Areas of Focus Organizational Conditions for Effective School Mental Health Mental Health Capacity- Building for Educators Implementation of Evidence- Based Mental Health Promotion and Prevention Programming School Mental Health ASSIST has three main areas of focus, helping boards (1) to create organizational conditions for effective school mental health, (2) to build capacity for supporting student mental health amongst educators, and (3) to implement high-quality evidence-based promotion and prevention programs to support well-being in universal and targeted ways.

4 School Mental Health ASSIST will help ALL school boards to support student mental health & well-being By providing hands-on resources to build Mental Health Awareness and to support effective decision-making in school mental health We provide support to ALL school boards, through the development of resources that support mental health awareness for school board staff and that help boards to make decisions about which programs and services would be most helpful in their context. School Mental Health ASSIST

5 It is part of Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy
School Mental Health ASSIST is part of Open Minds, Healthy Minds, the comprehensive 10-year strategy designed to address mental health and addictions needs in Ontario. You can view the Strategy on-line at the link provided. Open Minds, Healthy Minds is the comprehensive, 10-year strategy designed to address mental health and addictions needs in Ontario School Mental Health ASSIST

6 Strategy Priorities for the Next 3 Years
Close Critical Service Gaps Increase availability of culturally appropriate services and serve more children and youth in Aboriginal, remote and underserved communities With complex mental health needs At the key transition point from secondary to post-secondary education Identify & Intervene Early Provide tools and support to those in contact with children and youth so they can identify mental health issues sooner Provide resources for effective responses to mental health issues Build mental health literacy and local leadership Fast Access to High Quality Services Build capacity in the community-based sector Reduce wait times Meet community needs Link education, child and youth mental health, youth justice, health care, and the community Support System Change Support development of an effective and accountable service system for all Ontarians Build on efforts that promote evidence-informed practice, collaboration, and efficiencies Develop standards and tools to better measure outcomes for children and youth The first three years of the Mental Health and Addictions Strategy is focused on child and youth mental health, and is led by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. There are three core priorities for this first three years: Fast access to high quality services, identify and intervene early, and close critical service gaps. School Mental Health ASSIST

Starting with Child and Youth Mental Health Our Vision: An Ontario in which children and youth mental health is recognized as a key determinant of overall health and well-being, and where children and youth reach their full potential. Provide fast access to high quality service Kids and families will know where to go to get what they need and services will be available to respond in a timely way. Identify and intervene in kids’ mental health needs early Professionals in community-based child and youth mental health agencies and teachers will learn how to identify and respond to the mental health needs of kids. Close critical service gaps for vulnerable kids, kids in key transitions, and those in remote communities Kids will receive the type of specialized service they need and it will be culturally appropriate THEMES INDICATORS Reduced child and youth suicides/suicide attempts Educational progress (EQAO) Fewer school suspensions and/or expulsions Decrease in severity of mental health issues through treatment Decrease in inpatient admission rates for child and youth mental health Higher graduation rates More professionals trained to identify kids’ mental health needs Higher parent satisfaction in services received Fewer hospital (ER) admissions and readmissions for child and youth mental health Reduced Wait Times Provide designated mental health workers in schools Implement Working Together for Kids’ Mental Health Hire Nurse Practitioners for eating disorders program Improve service coordination for high needs kids, youth and families Implement standardized tools for outcomes and needs assessment Amend education curriculum to cover mental health promotion and address stigma Develop K-12 resource guide for educators Implement school mental health ASSIST program &mental health literacy provincially Enhance and expand Telepsychiatry model and services Provide support at key transition points Hire new Aboriginal workers Implement Aboriginal Mental Health Worker Training Program Create 18 service collaboratives Expand inpatient/outpatient services for child and youth eating disorders Reduce wait times for service, revise service contracting, standards, and reporting Funding to increase supply of child and youth mental health professionals Improve public access to service information Pilot Family Support Navigator model Y1 pilot Increase Youth Mental Health Court Workers Provide nurses in schools to support mental health services Implement Mental Health Leaders in selected School Boards Outcomes, indicators and development of scorecard Strategy Evaluation A number of initiatives have been created to support these three priorities. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, and the Ministry of Education have the lead for each of the various initiatives. The Ministry of Education commitments are highlighted in yellow. INITIATIVES 7 School Mental Health ASSIST

8 Interconnected Initiatives
School Boards Health care settings Community MOHLTC Nurse Leaders MHA Nurses in DSB program Service Collaboratives SSLI MCYS MH Workers with Schools Working Together EDU SMH ASSIST The Ministry of Education is producing a number of supports for use in Ontario school boards, like this webinar series, a resource guide, and a site for sharing resources on-line. Over the next few years, changes will be made to the curriculum to include a focus on mental health promotion and social emotional learning.. And, School Mental Health ASSIST will be implemented to help all boards to promote student mental health and well-being. Supports initiated by our partner Ministries, like Working Together for Kids’ Mental Health and the Nurses in DSB program, are also meant to enhance services, and service pathways, for children and youth. School Mental Health ASSIST

9 What Can School Boards Expect?
Resources to support mental health awareness Web space related to School Mental Health in Ontario Decision-making tools Support for Local Planning Presentations and Workshops An Educator Guide to Student Mental Health access to MyHealth Magazine Interministerial Coordination of Initiatives So, what can school boards expect in terms of support for student mental health and well-being? School Mental Health ASSIST will create resources like this webinar series that boards can use to promote educator awareness about mental health. We have created an on-line space for resources and links related to mental health. Some resources have been posted already, and we will continue to populate and evolve the site over time. Decision-making tools will be offered, for example, to help system leaders to choose amongst the various mental health literacy offerings currently available in the marketplace. School Mental Health ASSIST will also gladly participate in meetings of provincial organizations, as requested. In addition, the Ministry of Education will provide an Educator Guide to Student Mental Health and access to MyHealth Magazine, an innovative interactive on-line tool designed to help with teacher understanding of mental health. Finally, we are committed to working with our partner ministries to ensure alignment and coordination of initiatives. If you are interested in learning more about MyHealth Magazine, or any of these resources, do not hesitate to contact SMH ASSIST. School Mental Health ASSIST

10 Webinar Series – Session 1
Mental Health Awareness in Ontario School Boards Now I would like to introduce this webinar, which provides information about general mental health awareness for Ontario School Boards. School Mental Health ASSIST

11 Webinar Series Overview
Mental Health Awareness in Ontario School Boards Audiences: All Education Sector Audiences Building and Sustaining District Conditions for Effective School Mental Health Audiences: Trustees, Directors, Superintendents, Chief Social Workers / Psychologists Building and Sustaining School Conditions for Effective School Mental Health Audiences: Superintendents, School Administrators, School Mental Health Professionals, Guidance, Student Success, Special Educators Building and Sustaining Classroom Conditions for Effective School Mental Health Audiences: Teachers, Educational Assistants This is the first in the series of four webinars on School Mental Health Awareness released in This webinar provides an overview of school mental health and would be suitable for all school board audiences. Later sessions are targeted, by audience, and offer information that is tailored to the professional role of particular groups. Session two is aimed at senior leaders and focuses on organizational conditions for effective school mental health. Session three is targeted towards school leaders and provides information about setting conditions at a school level. Session four discusses practical strategies for creating classroom conditions that support student mental health. School Mental Health ASSIST

12 Suggested Uses for Webinar Series
Designed to be a flexible resource for educators Could be used as part of a visioning meeting, a professional development session, or self-study Select the Webinar that is right for you! Deliver as a Webinar OR Use/Tailor the Slide Deck Draw on the Facilitation Guide for Ideas for Creating an Engaging Staff Development Session The School Mental Health ASSIST webinar series is meant to be a flexible resource. Depending on your purpose you may you may choose to (1) listen to the webinar yourself for your own learning, (2) deliver the information to others by sharing this webinar, (3) use the slides and facilitator guide to create a workshop that you deliver or (4) select/modify some slides to enhance existing workshops that you already deliver to support mental health awareness. Ontario Ministry of Education School Mental Health ASSIST

13 Mental Health Awareness Webinars
Mental Health Awareness is Not an Event It is an iterative deepening of knowledge that is embedded within school board life The tools in the School Mental Health ASSIST Webinar Series can be a helpful start, or an enhancement, to board initiatives in this area The Mental Health Awareness session can be offered in isolation, or as a precursor to any of the sessions in the Series One of the risks in the area of mental health literacy is that professional development is handled as an event (e.g. a one-day, one-time information sharing, delivered by an external expert). School mental health is much too complicated to be “taught” in this way. Rather, School Mental Health ASSIST recommends a sustained, iterative process of learning that is embedded within a systematic plan for educator mental health capacity building. Ideally, those with expertise in school mental health, like School Social Workers and Psychological Consultants, would deliver this information in an organized way that cascades meaningfully throughout the system. It is suggested that this cascade begins with senior leaders, moves to school leaders, and then focuses on those who work in classrooms. In this way, those closest to students have others in the organization to lean on for information and support. School Mental Health ASSIST

14 The Mental Health Capacity Continuum
The right information, to the right people, in the right way, at the right time Mental Health Awareness Mental Health Literacy Mental Health Expertise Strategies for providing basic mental health information, tailored for different school board audiences Strategies for ensuring deeper working knowledge for those who have a role in supporting student mental health Strategies for ensuring that SMH professionals possess the skills and knowledge to effectively provide evidence-based SMH promotion, prevention, and intervention At School Mental Health ASSIST, we have started to think of mental health capacity as occurring along a continuum. We believe that all members of the education sector need Mental Health Awareness – a basic level of understanding of mental health and common problems that might be observed at school amongst students, and how to help. Those who work most closely with students require a deeper level of knowledge and skill so that they can promote well-being at school, and can identify and effectively support students who struggle with their emotions and behavior. We call this Mental Health Literacy. Those with responsibility for our most vulnerable students require Mental Health Expertise, a fluency with evidence-based mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention strategies and programs. This webinar series is offered at the level of Mental Health Awareness. ALL SOME FEW School Mental Health ASSIST

15 Mental Health Awareness Session Overview
Child and Youth Mental Health – The Basics The Role of School Boards The Role of Community Recommendations and Next Steps In this session, we will provide basic information related to child and youth mental health, followed by a discussion of the role of school boards, and of our community partners, in systems of care of our students. This webinar closes with some recommendations for next steps. School Mental Health ASSIST

16 Child and Youth Mental Health
First, the basics… School Mental Health ASSIST

17 Mental Health is… “A state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” World Health Organization Often, when people think about mental health, they default to thinking about mental illness (those who struggle with psychosis or severe depression). At School Mental Health ASSIST, we have adopted a definition that emphasizes optimal mental well-being and health, from the World Health Organization. Mental Health is something we all aspire to. School Mental Health ASSIST

18 Mental Health… Exists on a Continuum
In a similar way, rather than suggesting that mental health is something you have, or do not have, we recommend thinking about mental health as existing along a continuum, from health to illness. All of us find ourselves somewhere along this continuum, and where we are can vary over time, depending on particular life circumstances and predispositions. We can probably all think of times when stressful or troubling events led us to feelings of emotional turmoil that impacted on our daily functioning. All being well, most of us can move back along the continuum towards well-being. Some of us cannot and fall towards mental illness, unless we get the help we need. The same is true for our students. School Mental Health ASSIST

19 Our goal is to enhance the health and well-being of all children and youth, and to minimize the burden of mental illness for those students who struggle. Much of the work that we can do in the education sector to support mental health is on the left side of the continuum. As educators, we are well-positioned to enhance the well-being of all of our students. What we do every day in Ontario classrooms – we teach, we care, we help – is foundational to good mental health for students. With professional learning to increase our mental health literacy, we can also learn to recognize and support students who seem to be struggling emotionally and to help them along the pathway to care. Much of what we do in school boards, every day – teaching, caring, helping – is foundational to good mental health School Mental Health ASSIST

20 Mental Health Problems are…
Emotional, behavioural and brain-related difficulties that interfere with development, relationships, attendance, and achievement Difficulties that are severe and persistent enough to cause significant symptoms, distress, and impairment in one or more areas of daily life are termed mental health disorders/ mental illness Creating a shared understanding of what is meant by a problem in mental health can be helpful. This working definition highlights a few key aspects of a mental health problem: it relates to emotions and behaviors, it has some biological foundation, and it interferes with normal functioning. A mental health problem that is severe, persistent, and causes impairment in daily life is called a mental health disorder or mental illness. School Mental Health ASSIST

21 Mental Health Problems… Begin Early
In 70% of cases, the onset of problems begins before age 18… In the past, the thinking was that mental health problems were primarily the domain of adults. Unfortunately, that is not the case – children are not immune. In 70% of cases, those with mental health problems reported that their difficulties began before age 18. And this is not just a problem for secondary school students. 50% of those with problems in this area indicated that they experienced symptoms before age 14. …50% before age 14 School Mental Health ASSIST

22 Mental Health Problems… Are Prevalent
1 in 5 students will experience a mental health problem… One in Five Although prevalence estimates vary somewhat depending on which study is referenced and how the problem is defined, most place the rate of mental health problem in the range of 18-23%. The “one in five” statistic is a helpful way to remember just how many of our students are affected by significant emotional difficulties. Teachers are encouraged to think about their class - and to anticipate that in any given year there will be 4 to 6 students who struggle to a degree that will interfere with their academic performance. Every School….Every Classroom School Mental Health ASSIST

23 Mental Health Problems… Include a Range of Emotional Difficulties
Mental health problems are characterized by many different signs and symptoms, and present in various forms: Some mental health problems manifest outwardly (externalizing) Students appear aggressive, impulsive, coercive, non-compliant Some mental health problems manifest inwardly (internalizing) Students appear sad, anxious, withdrawn, lonely Mental health problems can present in various forms. Most classification systems divide these clusters of signs and symptoms into two broad areas; externalizing problems, or those that manifest outwardly in things like aggression, impulsivity, and non-compliance; and internalizing problems, or those that manifest inwardly in things like sadness, anxiety, and social withdrawal. School Mental Health ASSIST

24 Common Mental Health Problems Seen At School…
Problems with: Anxiety Attention Conduct Mood Substance Use and Addictions At school, we are most likely to see problems in the area of anxiety, attention, conduct, mood and substance use / addictions. School Mental Health ASSIST

25 Mental Health Problems are Co-morbid…
If one mental health disorder is present, other problems are also likely 45% of students will have more than one area of difficulty Other mental health disorders, learning and school-related problems, health problems, substance use, risk-taking behaviour, difficulty with the law Although classification systems exist to help us to understand and organize the clusters of symptoms that we observe, mental health problems do not fall neatly into categories in real life. Symptoms that are characteristic of one disorder are often symptoms of other disorders, and, to complicate things further, disorders tend to travel together. This is called co-morbidity – 45% of children and youth with one mental health disorder are likely to have another area of difficulty as well (e.g., depression AND anxiety, ADHD AND oppositional defiant disorder). It is because of this complexity that diagnosis is a controlled act - only to be performed by physicians and psychologists in Ontario – and that treatment must be offered by those with mental health expertise. School Mental Health ASSIST

26 Mental Health Problems are related to a Combination of Factors…
Biological influences E.g., genetic conditions, chemical imbalances Early life experiences E.g., early losses, trauma Individual factors E.g., ways of thinking, poor coping strategies Life circumstances E.g., family stress, poverty, school stress A number of factors have been shown to contribute to the development of a mental health problem. These include biological influences, early life experiences, individual ways of thinking and coping, and difficult life circumstances. Usually, it is a combination of factors that gives rise to a problem. Often it is the case that an individual who has a predisposition for a particular problem (e.g., a child who has a parent with depression might have a genetic loading for a mood problem and may have observed unhelpful coping style) is more likely to experience a mental health problem when stressful life events occur than someone who is less vulnerable. School Mental Health ASSIST

27 Mental Health Problems… Cause Distress
One in five Ontario students will not achieve their academic potential because of a mental health problem These students may also struggle to maintain good relationships with peers, family, educators They experience social and emotional pain on a regular basis isolation, despair, anger, worry, confusion… There is a bias in our culture towards minimizing the impact of mental health problems, and subtlely suggesting that those afflicted should be able to “get over” their problems if only they tried hard enough. Mental health problems are very real, and very painful, and often difficult to treat even with support. Amongst children and youth, there is a clear relationship between mental health problems and academic difficulties. When students are preoccupied with emotional concerns they cannot participate fully in learning. These concerns also interfere with social relationships and contribute to feelings of low self-worth, anger, worry and confusion. School Mental Health ASSIST

28 Mental Health Disorders… Can have Lethal Consequences
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in ages (Stats Canada, 2002) Most gravely, mental health problems can have lethal consequences. Suicide is devastatingly common in amongst young people. In Ontario, as the stigma around mental illness begins to slowly recede, we are talking more openly about this phenomenon. We are seeing media reports and we are being asked to think about how we, in our role, can help. The good news is, we can help. Feelings of hopelessness, isolation, and lack of support can result in suicidal behaviour. 1 in 10 youth report having attempted suicide. School Mental Health ASSIST

29 Mental Health Problems… Are Treatable
There are proven strategies and supports to address child and youth mental health problems Early identification and intervention improves prognosis Psychosocial and pharmacological treatments are most common, and are often used together While many mental disorders are chronic, there are ways to help children and families to cope and to maintain a good quality of life Mental health problems are preventable, and they are treatable. The earlier we intervene, the better the trajectory for a child vulnerable to mental illness. There is a rich research literature describing programs and practices that can be used to support children at risk – like prevention programs that help with skill-building – these programs can help bolster students and keep them from spiraling into a negative cycle of behavior and emotions. For those with identified mental health problems, psychosocial treatments, like cognitive-behavior therapy and parent training, have strong support for helping children with problems like anxiety, depressed mood, and behavior problems. The use of medication has also been shown to be helpful for some children and youth struggling with particular mental health problems. Note that even when problems are long-standing, there are ways to help children and families to effectively manage the disorder, just as you might with diabetes or other chronic health conditions. School Mental Health ASSIST

30 The Importance of Evidence…
Social Emotional Learning is not neutral Important to use evidence-based approaches for student mental health issues Many examples of programs that are unproven Some examples of programs that HARM There are evidence-based strategies that make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth who struggle with mental health. It is important to be aware, however, that not all interventions that sound helpful actually produce beneficial outcomes. There are many examples of well-intentioned, well-marketed programs that are benign, and others that actually do harm. In school boards, we need to be good consumers of programming in this area, and we should try to build in local evaluations to ensure that we are getting the outcomes we are striving for. This is something that will be a key focus for School Mental Health ASSIST and we will provide tools to help you with strategy selection in your board. We should be evaluating local programs and strategies, especially if they are untested School Mental Health ASSIST

31 Most Children and Youth… Do Not Receive the Help They Need
Up to 80% of children and youth who experience a mental health problem will not receive treatment Major barriers include: Stigma Misidentification / lack of identification of symptoms Lack of local services Even though there are treatment options available that can help children and youth who struggle with mental health problems, relatively few will access the help they need. There are currently several barriers to getting help. The stigma associated with acknowledging emotional problems does still prevent many from engaging in the courageous conversations needed to identify and support children and youth in need. In addition, caring adults and peers who may be in a position to help often feel ill-equipped in terms of knowledge and skills to identify problems and to know where to find professional assistance. Finally, even when problems are voiced and/or identified, in some communities there are not enough services to meet the demand. These issues with access make schools an even more important place for students in need. School Mental Health ASSIST

32 The Role of School Boards
How can we help? How should we help? School Mental Health ASSIST

33 Schools … Have a Unique Opportunity to Support Mental Health
Children and youth are with us six hours a day, five days a week. We can have an enormous influence in shaping well-being. In school districts in Ontario, we have a unique opportunity to support student mental health. The children and youth in our schools are with us 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, and we can assert a tremendous influence on both their academic and social emotional learning. Simple things, like greeting every student by name as they get off the bus, or as they enter the classroom, can go a long way towards knowing our students, and opening the door for caring conversations. Finding and nurturing a talent, pushing students to take little risks each day – all of these things can help our students to grow and shine. Schools are uniquely positioned to promote positive child and youth mental health. School Mental Health ASSIST

34 Schools… Are an Excellent Place to Support Student Mental Health
Schools are an optimal setting in which to: Reduce stigma Promote positive mental health Build student social-emotional learning skills Prevent mental health problems in high risk groups Identify students in need Support pathways to service It has been widely noted that schools are, indeed, an optimal setting to reduce stigma, promote positive mental health, build student social-emotional learning skills, prevent the development of mental health problems in high risk groups, identify students in need, and support them along the pathway to service. School Mental Health ASSIST

35 Educators are NOT Clinicians, but they can play an important role in supporting child and youth mental health Educators need tools and resources in order to be the caring adults that they want to be! It is very important to stress that there is no expectation that educators should become counselors or that boards should do the work of community mental health organizations. Rather, we would suggest that we have a role to play in a full system of care. This role involves creating caring schools and classrooms, building social emotional learning skills, and helping to identify students in need of early intervention. Educators are the “eyes and ears” that can help to identify a student in need of support. School Mental Health ASSIST

36 Support…Can be offered through a Tiered Support Model
Universal Mental Health Promotion, Social-Emotional Learning Targeted Prevention Indicated Intervention Our focus, in District School Boards, is to create mentally healthy environments for students, to provide universal mental health promotion programs in areas of need, and to build skills amongst students who are vulnerable through prevention programming Our role is most focused on promoting mental health and well-being for ALL students, through universal approaches that are beneficial for all children and youth. We can also help to identify SOME students with, or at risk for developing, mental health problems and can help with targeted skill-building and with referrals to mental health support teams. With the assistance of professionals with mental health expertise, we can lend support to the FEW students who require more intensive intervention while at school, ideally working in partnership with involved community agencies. School Mental Health ASSIST

37 When it comes to Mental Health, our Primary Roles as Educators can be…
To be caring adults in the lives of students To promote positive mental health through school- and class-wide strategies To build social emotional skills for ALL students To identify students in need of enhanced support and to help them along a pathway to care As educators, our central role at school relates to instruction and learning. But we can also support student mental health in the way that we go about our day to day work. For example, we can (and do!) show compassion and support, and can be caring adults in the lives of our students. We can adopt research-based strategies that have been shown to promote positive mental health across schools and classrooms (like chunking assignments to help students with managing stress). We can sometimes integrate social emotional learning into classroom activities so that students learn skills related to self awareness, social awareness, self – regulation, relationships, and decision-making. Research has shown a link between social emotional learning skills and academic performance, so this emphasis is well placed in our schools. As broader school systems we can also provide targeted skill-building for students at higher risk for developing problems, and can identify and support students in need of more intensive services. It is important to understand that there is no expectation that educators would take on new and different roles in the classroom. Rather, that resources will be provided to enhance their ability to provide support to the 1 in 5 students in Ontario classrooms that need a differentiated approach to learning. School Mental Health ASSIST

38 We Can’t Do It All! The need for mental health services and supports is great Schools are not equipped to intervene with students who are exhibiting severe mental illness But, schools are important players within a larger system of care As noted previously, educators and the wider school district system have an important role to play in supporting student mental health and well-being. This role is focused primarily on promotion, prevention, and identification. We need to rely on our community partners to complete a larger, more comprehensive, system of care. School Mental Health ASSIST

39 The Role of Community School Mental Health ASSIST
What role do our community partners play? School Mental Health ASSIST

40 Our Community Partners in Mental Health…
Include community mental health agencies, hospitals and clinics, and youth justice organizations Have expertise in the treatment of children and youth with serious mental illness Are designed to provide individual and group therapy to children and their families Communities across Ontario are varied with respect the services and supports available to support child and youth mental health. Some school districts work primarily with one community mental health agency and/or hospital, and others can access dozens of agencies that have different specializations. For the most part, regardless of the nature and complexity of the community, this is the place through which students with the most significant mental health problems are to receive specialized care. School Mental Health ASSIST

41 Working with Community Partners
We have gotten to know each other better through the Student Support Leadership Initiative Some communities have moved ahead with joint projects, protocols and pathways to service As communities, we need to decide how we will care for our most fragile children and youth, and how to help them access the help they need. Over the past few years, there has been enhanced integration across school boards and community/health agencies via the Student Support Leadership Initiative. Across the 27 clusters, communities have moved ahead, to varying degrees, on projects related to protocol development, mental health awareness, role clarification, and pathways to service. Much has been learned through this initiative, but in many cases much remains to be done in terms of helping our most emotionally fragile children and youth to access the right help, at the right time. School Mental Health ASSIST

42 Schools… Need to Work Closely with Community Partners
Universal Mental Health Promotion, Social-Emotional Learning Targeted Prevention Indicated Intervention Indicated Intervention Targeted Prevention Universal Mental Health Promotion Community It is clear that we need to work from an integrated, systems of care model in order to ensure that we provide support all children and youth in our community. The particular pathways to support need to be locally determined, but the main thing is that pathways are clear and articulated so that students receive the right help at the right time. School Boards We are better together! School Mental Health ASSIST

43 This is complex work! There are lots of steps along the way…
Provincial Level (e.g., interministry coordination, SMH ASSIST) Board Level (e.g., MH Strategy, coordinated mental health literacy training, menu of evidence-based strategies) School Level (e.g., enhanced staff understanding of students with behavioral problems and helpful strategies, more accurate identification and referral, more caring adults), enhanced partnership with families Student Level (e.g., enhanced sense of belonging, more help-seeking, stronger coping skills) Better mental health and academic outcomes But, if we all work together, Ontario students will benefit from better mental health and well-being! Note that all of the Ministry of Education commitments, and the wider 3-year strategy, is designed ultimately, to lead to better mental health and academic outcomes for Ontario children and youth. We are aware that this is a complex endeavor that requires many steps and the efforts of many key players at all levels of the system. We firmly believe that this is the right direction, and that this initiative is happening at the right time for our students. School Mental Health ASSIST

44 Next Steps in your Board
Given the complexity and magnitude of this direction, you may be asking where to begin…we will offer a few broad suggestions for your consideration. These suggestions will be elaborated in the other sessions in the webinar series. School Mental Health ASSIST

45 Every board is unique. Every school is unique. Every student is unique. Acknowledge your strengths as a board/school/community Identify areas of need Create a feasible plan Include attention to organizational conditions, mental health awareness building, and evidence-based programming First, it is recognized that every school board in Ontario is unique, every school is unique, and, indeed, every staff member and student is unique. General principles offered are meant only as guidelines that you will, by necessity, tailor to your contexts. Some broad directions for your consideration include: (1) identify and acknowledge current strengths and resources in your board that support student mental health (name them - make a list of people, processes, products that you already have available!), (2) identify key areas of need and gaps in service, (3) create a short term plan of action to address one or two areas of need, (4) pay attention to core elements of school mental health (organizational conditions, mental health awareness building, and evidence-based promotion and prevention programming). We are all on the same path, but may be on different parts of the journey. School Mental Health ASSIST

46 Contact School Mental Health ASSIST
Kathy Short, Ph.D., C.Psych. Director, School Mental Health ASSIST , x2634 If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We need to work together to make a difference for the students in our schools! School Mental Health ASSIST

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