Breakout Sessions

This year's breakout sessions feature many mental health leaders from
 across Canada. Please see below for more information on each.


Dr. Yifeng Wei

Evaluating School Mental Health Programs

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. David Lovas

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

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. Chris Gilham

Improving Adolescent Girls’ Developmental Assets via Amplify Using a Peer-Led Approach in Rural Public Schools in Atlantic Canada

Gender inequality and the hyper-sexualization of girls places them at risk of poor positive youth development. This is compounded by factors such as race, sexual orientation, and economic status. Rural settings contain unique systemic barriers such as isolation, and limited access to confidential and culturally appropriate services. This session will share key intervention content and research results that tested the effectiveness of an adolescent girls-specific positive youth development program called Amplify. It will also offer practical strategies and recommendations based on this three-year project.  



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. 


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

Schools 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. 


Conversations about health and masculinity: An introduction to innovative approaches in a gendered healthy living class. 

Nova Scotia is home to an innovative school-based approach to normalize help-seeking behaviour among teenage boys. A gendered healthy living class for youth who identify as male was created in 2012 in response to a challenge facing the province’s youth health centres. While the centres are very effective at helping youth improve their health, few young males were accessing the centres. These healthy living classes are a safe space for them to explore a range of topics that impact their health, and the health of other genders. Teachers will learn what a gendered healthy living class is like with the help of junior high school students who were part of the sessions this year, and what it takes to set up a similar program in their school.