Breakout Sessions

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


Andrew Baxter


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.


Dr. Penny Corkum & nicole ali

Is ADHD a type of SLD? Similarities and differences between ADHD and LD and approaches to intervention.

ADHD and Specific Learning Disorders (SLD) are both classified under the category of neurodevelopmental disorders in the DSM-5. These two disorders often co-exist with each other and/or can mimic each other. This workshop will describe the key characteristics that differentiates these two disorders and will describe the appropriate assessment needed to conduct a differential diagnosis. We will then turn our attention to evidence-based intervention for ADHD and for LD, and for when these disorders co-exist.


dr. chris gilham

know before you go

Know Before You Go (KBYG) is an important life skills resource with embedded mental health topics for grade 12 students. It is intended to support them as they begin to think about and plan for their transition from high school to post-secondary life. It was co-created in 2017 and approved for use in grade 12 classes by the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and TeenMentalHealth.Org. In 2017 we field-tested KBYG and successfully engaged grade 12 students at two high schools in the Strait Regional Centre for Education. This field test demonstrated very positive outcomes and in early 2019 we trained more educators in the SRCE who then implemented KBYG in a seminar and board game format throughout high schools. In this session we will introduce participants to KBYG via our exciting board game as well as share results of our pilot and recent school based research in the Strait region. We will also introduce participants to our brand new KBYG Teacher’s Guide, designed for use in ELA12 classrooms.   


morris green & Robert Macdonald


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. 


Dr. Yifeng Wei


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.


dave mackenzie

School Counsellors: Who are we and what is our experience with care for others

 School counsellors are a valued member of the school community and their influence on the care of others is an important aspect of a school’s environment. In this session we will discuss the role of school counsellors their experience with compassion fatigue and burn out impact their work.  As well, we will explore of the different ways they can best support students.

maribeth rogers

Intermediate Mental Health Literacy Pilot

On Prince Edward Island, eight Intermediate Schools were involved in the Mental Health Literacy Pilot during the 2018-19 school year. This session will focus on the preparation for and the roll out of the pilot. The instructional planning involved in delivering the Mental Health Literacy Curriculum guide and lessons learned throughout the pilot. We will share in the educators feedback on the resource and responses of our students on their learning. A report on the results of the pilot will also be shared.


dr. alexa bagnell

anxiety disorders

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.