Breakout Sessions

This year's breakout sessions feature many mental health leaders from
 across Canada. Please see below for full session descriptions.


Thursday, July 20


 
Dr. Sabina Abidi, Dalhousie University

Dr. Sabina Abidi, Dalhousie University

Dr. Sabina Abidi 

Psychosis: When Everything Seems Unreal

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

In this session, we will review the history of psychosis and psychotic disorders, discuss markers that help identify youth at risk for psychosis and psychotic disorders and emphasize the importance of early intervention and treatment of youth. 

 
Dr. Erika Baker (photo coming soon)

Dr. Erika Baker (photo coming soon)

Dr. EriCa Baker 

concussions & return to learn

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

Did you know that an estimated 225,000 Canadians suffer concussions annually?  Some of these will be your students. Educators can play an important role in prevention and recognition of concussion and assisting students in the concussion recovery process. Topics covered in this session will include: Concussion – What is it?; Effects of concussion on school learning and performance – what to watch for; strategies for supporting concussion recovery – what to do; roles and responsibilities – who does what; and useful tools and resources. 

 
Andrew Baxter, Alberta Health Services

Andrew Baxter, Alberta Health Services

Andrew Baxter

Reframing Behavioral Issues in the Classroom Pragmatic Strategies to Address Them

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM

In this session, we will focus on the considerations to make when understanding challenging student behavior and how to design appropriate responses. Various intervention approaches will be discussed by way of case studies and real classroom examples.  

 
Nick Cardone, Free Range Therapy

Nick Cardone, Free Range Therapy

Nick Cardone

THE T.O.N.E. PROJECT (THERAPY OUTSIDE NORMAL ENVIRONMENTS) – THERAPY THAT RESONATES

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM

Emerging research increasingly points to how men and boys respond positively to non-traditional methods used in therapy (or related supportive contexts). What are some of the unique mental health needs of boys and young men? The T.O.N.E. Project was a two-year group therapy endeavor exploring innovative ways to better address these needs in Nova Scotia.

This fun and interactive workshop will introduce you to practical tools, strategies and resources to deepen engagement of our youth (reducing attrition rates, strengthening alliance, deepening insight, etc.) by introducing experiential and adventure-based methods into your work.

 
Dr. Penny Corkum, Dalhousie University

Dr. Penny Corkum, Dalhousie University

Sarah Brine,

Sarah Brine,

Dr. Penny Corkum & Sarah Brine

Teacher Help for ADHD

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM

Understanding ADHD, evidence-based treatments and interventions are especially important in an educational setting. In this session, we will present a brief overview before sharing a framework for understanding and addressing ADHD symptoms in the classroom. There will also be an opportunity to apply your new learnings through case studies and learn about an upcoming program, Teacher Help, that will be using eLearning technology to provide professional development to classroom teachers who are working with children with ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, Learning Disabilities).

 
Dr. David Lovas, Dalhousie University

Dr. David Lovas, Dalhousie University

Dr. David Lovas

What Happens When A Suicidal or Self-Harming Youth Visits the ER

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

This session will provide a better understanding of what happens when a youth visits the Emergency Room. We will also discuss realistic expectations of the role of emergency mental health in the continuum of mental health care. Expect to gain a better understanding of how to best help youth during an apparent crisis. 

 
Dr. Herbert Orlik, Dalhousie University

Dr. Herbert Orlik, Dalhousie University

Melissa Kemp, IWK Health Centre

Melissa Kemp, IWK Health Centre

dr. herbert orlik & Melissa kemp

eating disorders

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

In this session, participants will learn about the different kinds of eating disorders and how they might present at home, at school and in a clinic, and how we can collaborate when a young person with an eating disorder is in school. We will discuss the natural course of certain eating disorders, as well as dispel myths about eating disorders and talk about what scientifically is known and not known about what causes these. There will also be a description of the emotional, social, medical and academic consequences of the more severe eating disorders, what treatments are available and how treatment – in general terms – is carried out. 

 
Dr. Lukas Propper, Dalhousie University

Dr. Lukas Propper, Dalhousie University

Dr. Lukas Propper, Derrick MacLean, Lindsay McKenna & Victoria Fry

Mental health difficulties commonly present in school-age children & adolescents with autism

Thursday july 20, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

In this session, we will define autism spectrum disorder (ASD), provide an explanation of psychiatric comorbidity in ASD, as well as review non-pharmacological interventions and psychotropic drugs used in ASD. 

 
Dr. Penny Corkum, Dalhousie University

Dr. Penny Corkum, Dalhousie University

Dr. Gabrielle Rigney, Dalhousie University

Dr. Gabrielle Rigney, Dalhousie University

Dr. Penny Corkum & Dr. Gabrielle Rigney

better nights, better days

Thursday july 20, 12:30-1:45 PM

Sleepiness can have an impact on children’s daytime functioning across cognitive, emotional and behavioural demands. In this session, we will present an update on current research about how sleepiness impacts children’s school performance and what can be done to help children sleep better so that they can be successful in school. You will also learn about Dr. Corkum and Dr. Rigney’s most recent work on developing a program to help youth sleep better, Better Nights, Better Days for Youth, as well as a new tool used to evaluate sleep habits in children called the ABCs of SLEEPING. Resources for youth and their parents about healthy sleep will be shared.

 
Dr. Stan Kutcher, Dalhousie University

Dr. Stan Kutcher, Dalhousie University

Rola AbiHanna, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Rola AbiHanna, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Dr. Stan Kutcher & Rola AbiHanna

Preparing students for life after graduation: introducing Know Before You Go

Thursday july 20, 12:30-1:45 PM

Students face a different landscape once they graduate from high school. Many of the new challenges they will face can be more successfully addressed with some planning and preparation. That is where Know Before You Go fits in. This life skills resource helps students anticipate, identify and navigate situations they will encounter when entering the realm of post secondary education. It contains information on paying bills, study skills, roommate issues, identity questions and embed though out is how to maintain good mental health and seek help as needed. The presenters will introduce this web based resource and discuss how it can be used in the class room. 


Friday, July 21


Dr. Alexa Bagnell, Dalhousie University

Dr. Alexa Bagnell, Dalhousie University

Dr. Alexa Bagnell

Anxiety disorders

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in young people. Youth with anxiety disorders can have challenges with school performance, attendance and behavior and are at higher risk of developing mood disorders and substance use disorders. In this session, you will learn about anxiety and the brain and how it impacts students in school. Together, we will also tackle how to recognize youth with anxiety and tips and tools to support them in the school environment.

 
Vanessa Bruce Little, Dalhousie University

Vanessa Bruce Little, Dalhousie University

Vanessa Bruce LITTLE

How Not To Bubble Wrap Kids

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

Too often, we think of stress as bad and something to be avoided. This isn’t entirely our fault – society has trained us to believe these things. Stress is vilified constantly in the media and even our doctors have told us for years to “reduce our stress”. Recent research, however, has helped us understand  that stress is not all bad. In fact, most stress is actually GOOD for you and not experiencing that stress can lead to a host of later problems. This workshop will help you understand the different types of stressors a student might experience and how the stress response activates in the body, as well as how we should be reacting to those stressors and the healthy coping strategies that we can help foster in students.

 
Dr. Yifeng Wei, Dalhousie University

Dr. Yifeng Wei, Dalhousie University

Dr. Yifeng Wei

Evaluating School Mental Health Programs

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

One of the most common school mental health needs that we have heard from educators across Canada is how to choose best evidence-based, effective and safe programs to apply in schools from the plethora of heavily marketed options available. In response to this need, this session will share with participants scientific knowledge about evidence-based school mental health programs. We will also explore the tip of the iceberg of scientific strategies on how we decide the level of evidence current school mental health programs and interventions actually have. With this knowledge, you will achieve basic understanding when it comes to evidence of school health programs and make informed decisions for schools and students in practice.

 
Dr. Sara Kirk, Dalhousie University

Dr. Sara Kirk, Dalhousie University

Dr. Sara Kirk

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies, Healthy School Communities = student success

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

School and their constituents – students, teachers, staff and parents – are part of the larger community. Because early intervention has been shown to be successful, the school is a logical place for health promotion activities that support the physical and mental health of children and youth, to take place. But what does it mean to be a healthy school community? In this session, you will learn about the latest evidence on the relationship between physical and mental health among children and youth, the role of schools in supporting health both within and beyond the curriculum and can explore ways to engage students to promote healthy minds and healthy bodies.

 
Andrew Baxter, Alberta Health Services

Andrew Baxter, Alberta Health Services

Andrew Baxter

Partnering With Parents to Address Behavioral Challenges and Mental Health Concerns at School

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM

School staff aligning with parents is often a critical element in successfully addressing the mental health needs of students. Common barriers are lack of knowledge regarding mental health, stigma and cultural differences. In this workshop, we will discuss approaches school staff can take to best collaborate with parents, from engagement, planning supports and following up.

 
Dr. Anita Hickey, Dalhousie University

Dr. Anita Hickey, Dalhousie University

Dr. Anita Hickey

Depression: Taming the Black Dog

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

In this session, we will discuss why some individuals develop Depression and others don’t, how to identify youth at risk and how to support individuals with mood disorders.

 
Dr. Susan Roger, Western University

Dr. Susan Roger, Western University

Dr. Susan rodger

self-care for educators: strategies to build wellness

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM

This interactive session is designed to focus attention on simple strategies to improve your everyday wellness. Together, we will flip the script from “burned out” to “on fire”, and share what we can do to create and build wellness for ourselves, our families and schools.

 
Laing House, Halifax

Laing House, Halifax

Laing house members & staff

Laing House Youth Speak & Film Screening

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

Presented by the members and staff of Laing House, Youth Speak is an award-winning educational program that uses a peer-to-peer approach to increase mental health knowledge and reduce stigma. Members reach out to schools, businesses, community groups, conferences and other events to share their personal stories of mental illness and recovery. In this particular session, we will have two members share their stories and screen the short film “What Do You Think of Me Now?” directed by Laing member Carrie-Ann Boutilier. A facilitated discussion will follow

 
Sarah Williams, True North Psychological Services

Sarah Williams, True North Psychological Services

Sarah Williams

Psychoeducational Assessments

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM & 12:30-1:45 PM

This session will provide educators with tips on how to use psychoeducational assessment reports to gain a better understanding of a student's learning profile and their programming needs. 

 
Steven Carrington, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Steven Carrington, Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development

Steven Carrington

UBUNTU: The Way Forward in Supporting Mental Health in the African Nova Scotian Community

FRIDAY july 21, 10:30-11:45 AM

Participants will walk away with a greater understanding of the diverse communities we live in and move towards being aware of the communities they serve. This session will model for participants what an Africentric Approach looks like in practice and hopefully also elevate their consciousness about matters of race. Conversations about race need not to be feared but actually acknowledged.

Diverse communities have diverse needs and this will provide participants with a place to explore their current policies, practices, and behaviors which may impact on the hopes of people.

Mental health in the African Nova Scotia community presents itself in ways that differ from the wider community and this will give participants the opportunity to explore the reality that differences matter and are okay.

 
Photo coming soon

Photo coming soon

Mi’kmaq Services Division, NS Education and Early Childhood Development

Teaching that Fosters Positive Mental Wellness for Mi’kmaw Students 

FRIDAY july 21,  12:30-1:45 PM

Every school year, teachers have a renewed opportunity to influence the learning and lives of individual students. That opportunity is enhanced when students feel positive about themselves, their roles, and their purposes within the classroom and school environments. Unfortunately, many Mi’kmaw students feel disconnected to the learning they experience in Nova Scotia’s public schools. This session will provide a forum to discuss teaching approaches that contribute to optimizing the affective aspect of learning as a support to fostering positive mental wellness for youth of Mi’kmaw ancestry.