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School Mental Health Literacy: The Foundation for Youth Mental Health


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School Mental Health Literacy: The Foundation for Youth Mental Health

  1. 1. Mental Health and High School Curriculum GuideSchool Mental Health Literacy: The Foundation for Youth Mental Health Dr. Stan Kutcher and Ms. Yifeng Wei Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health IWK Health Center and Dalhousie University
  2. 2. What is Mental Health Literacy? Mental health literacy encompassesknowledge and skills that address thebiological, psychological, and socialaspects of mental health to increasethe understanding of mental health andmental disorders, reduce stigma, helprecognize and prevent mental disorders,and facilitate help-seeking behaviors inyouth along the pathway to mental health care.
  4. 4. Who Needs to be Mental Health Literate? Students Teachers Student services providers Other school support staff School administrators Health Providers Parents Media Wider Community
  5. 5. Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide A Mental Health Literacy Program for Students and Teachers Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide is the first mental health literacy program to address youth mental health in a systematic manner for Canadian secondary schools, with the focus on students and teachers
  6. 6. What are the Goals and Objectives of the Curriculum Guide?Promote students’ awareness of mental health andunderstanding of mental disordersAddress stigma associated with mental illnessFacilitate an environment in which students canmaximize their learningHelp students develop their abilities to cope with lifechallenges and stressesIdentify those students in particular need of assistanceor supportProvides information about “seeking help”
  7. 7. What does the Curriculum Guide Include? Part 1: Introduction Part 2: Teacher self-study materials Part 3: Student questionnaire Part 4: Modules/Lessons (core component) Part 5: Other activities and resources
  8. 8. What does the Curriculum Guide Include? (Core Component)Module 1: The stigma of mental illnessModule 2: Understanding mental health andmental illnessModule 3: Information on specific mental illnessModule 4: Experiences of mental illnessModule 5: Seeking Help and finding supportModule 6: The importance of positive mentalhealth
  9. 9. MENTAL HEALTH & HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE Module 1- Stigma of mental illness Concepts Expanding the concepts • Stigma hampers the • Right to vote? promotion of mental well- • Strange, bizarre and being, the prevention of violent? mental health • Dangerous or violent? disorders, and the provision of effective • Good job and life? treatment and care. • Bad parenting? • Stigma also contributes to • Friendship? the abuse of human rights. • Never get well?Please play the video to students and use other activities such as drama, artwork, role play to engage students
  10. 10. MENTAL HEALTH & HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE Module 2- Understanding mental health and mental illness Concepts Expanding the concepts • Introduction to the basics • The relationship between of brain functions • Concepts of mental the brain and the body? health, mental • The role of the frontal disorders/illnesses • Complexities of the causes lobe? of mental • The brain and the disorders/illnesses functioning of the • Major mental disorders/illnesses in heart, lung and fingers? adolescents • The brain being sick?Please play PowerPoint presentations to students and use other supplementary activitiessuch as drama, art work, role play to engage students
  11. 11. MENTAL HEALTH & HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE Module 3 – Information on specific mental illnesses Concepts Expanding the concepts • Relationship between mental • Schizophrenia, a split illnesses/disorders and brain personality? functions • Mood fluctuate naturally? • Understanding about • Panic attacks comes on symptoms, causes, treatments suddenly and last days? and other supports for specific • Suicide not related to mental mental disorders/illnesses health? • Anxiety disorders responds toPlease play PowerPoint presentations to real danger?students and use other supplementaryactivities such as drama, art work, role play • Self-harm may lead to death?to engage students
  12. 12. MENTAL HEALTH & HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE Module 4 – Experiences of mental illnessConcepts Expanding the concepts• Mental • Most people who have illnesses/disorders can a mental illness get well impact a person’s life and stay well with treatment?• Seeking help and proper treatment is important.Please play the video to students and use other activities such as drama, art work, roleplay to engage students
  13. 13. MENTAL HEALTH & HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE Part 4: Module 5 – Seeking help and finding supportConcepts Expanding the concepts• Getting help early • Vitamins and increases the chances that meditation, good a person will make a full treatments for most mental recovery from mental illnesses? illness • Treatment to relieve• Provision of resources for symptoms, restore help. functioning, and promote recovery? Teachers may want to bring in a guidance councilor, a school psychologist, and other local resources to talk to students. A video is also available.
  14. 14. MENTAL HEALTH & HIGH SCHOOL CURRICULUM GUIDE Module 6 – The importance of positive mental health• Characteristics of an emotionally healthy person• Strategies to enhance personal mental health (e.g. stress management techniques). Student engagement is important to create useful strategies to remain mentally healthy.
  15. 15. How does the Curriculum Guide Fit in Secondary schools?Is designed for Grade 9-10 students and teachersImplementation format is flexible: Teaching in a blocked chunk of time (e.g. 1.5 hours everyday for one week) Integrating the various components in the existing curriculum and teaching over the course of a semester Other strategies based on the individual school needsCurriculum duration: approximately 6-8 hoursCan be taught in the existing curriculum, e.g. Healthy LivingSupplementary online resources – Taking It Global ( andwww.teenmentalhealth.orgIs sustainable
  16. 16. How Can You Implement the Curriculum Guide in your school? Online supplementary resource – Taking It Global:
  17. 17. Social Network for Social Good
  18. 18. Suggested Steps to Implement the Curriculum Step 1 Step 2 Step 3• Set up support system • Determine target grade • Teacher Training (Example): and class (Example): Recruitment (Example):• The team received support • Grade 9 was the best fit • HRSB recruited all 86 Grade from NS Department of based on the decision of the 9 teachers who are currently Education (NS Provincial NS Department of Education teaching the Healthy Living Policy) • Provincial “Healthy Living” class.• HRSB Student Services set up outcomes aligned with those the infrastructure for of the curriculum and curriculum implementation became the curriculum in HRSB “home”
  19. 19. Suggested Steps to Implement the Curriculum Step 4 Step 5 Step 6• Teacher training on the • Training Evaluation • Implementing the Curriculum (Example): (Example): curriculum in the• Three one-day training • All participants were classroom periods were provided to 86 administered pre and post educators from 37 HRSB tests on mental health • Student evaluation schools on January 9, 16 and knowledge and attitudes 30, 2012 towards mental illness • All participants also provided feedback and comments on the training session
  20. 20. How to Implement the Curriculum Guide in Secondary Schools? Start with teacher mental health literacy: Self study – self evaluation On-site teacher training Online e-learning modules are being developed
  21. 21. Curriculum Training ObjectivesTo improveeducators’ knowledgeof the Curriculumand itscontents, increaseknowledge regardingmental health andmental healthillness, and enhancepositive attitudestowards mental illness
  22. 22. Curriculum Training ContentTo examine the basicconcepts of mentalhealth, the epidemiology ofmental disorders thattypically onset in adolescenceand strategies to fight stigmaassociated with mental illnessTo reviews the six modulesof theCurriculum, supplementaryeducational resources andteaching strategies foreffectively addressing mentalhealth literacy
  24. 24. Discussion and ConclusionsThe Curriculum training was effective inimproving mental health knowledge ofstudents and educators and improving theirattitudes towards mental illnessEducators self reported that they felt wellprepared and ready to implement theCurriculum in their classroomThe Curriculum training set a strongfoundation for educators to work withpractitioners to improve youth mentalhealth along the pathway to care.
  25. 25. Curriculum Implementation Preliminary DataFigure 1: Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide Training Results for Studentsat Forest Heights Community School (n=74, p<.001)
  26. 26. Curriculum Implementation Preliminary DataFigure 2: Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide Training Results for teachersat Forest Heights Community School (n=29, p<.001)
  27. 27. Curriculum Implementation Preliminary DataFigure 3: Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide Training Results for teachersat Tri-County School Board (n= 17; p<.05)
  28. 28. Curriculum Implementation Preliminary DataFigure 4: Mental Health & High School Curriculum Guide Training Results forStudents at Tri-County School Board (n=35 (English); n=41 (French); p<.05)
  29. 29. Curriculum Implementation Preliminary DataFigure 5: Mental Health & High School Curriculum GuideTraining Results for Teachersat Halifax Regional School Board (n=83; p<.0001)
  30. 30. Curriculum Implementation Preliminary DataFigure 6: Stigmatizing Attitudes Following the Mental Health & High SchoolCurriculum Training at Halifax Regional School Board (n=83; p<0.0001)
  31. 31. Who would be Interested in the Curriculum? Partners in planning or delivering the program Secondary schools or school boards Ministry/Department of Health Ministry of Education Funding agencies Program participants Program staff Program developer Organizations offering similar programs
  32. 32. The EndSun Life Financial Chair In Adolescent Mental HealthFor more information visitWWW.TEENMENTALHEALTH.ORG