February 2013

Think Tank on Scaling Up Mental Health Promotion

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The Quaich is pleased to host the upcoming Invitational Think Tank on Scaling Up Mental Health Promotion in Atlantic Canada, being held at White Point Beach Resort, Nova Scotia, from February 19-21, 2013. The Think Tank is part of the "Scaling Up Mental Health Promotion in Atlantic Canada Project," a component of the Canadian Mental Health Association Nova Scotia Division’s SEAK (Socially and Emotionally Aware Kids) Project. SEAK is a four-year project evaluating the implementation of a proven mental health promotion curriculum for elementary school-age children. The curriculum, Promoting Alternative THinking Strategies (PATHS) is being implemented in communities in Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Alberta. PATHS focuses on five core areas of social and emotional development: self-control; emotional understanding; self-esteem; peer relations; and interpersonal problem solving skills.

PATHS students are shown to develop compassion, self-awareness, empathy, and a capacity to deal appropriately with stress, frustration and anxiety. Current findings reveal that PATHS students have decreased symptoms of anxiety and depression, are less likely to exhibit aggressive behavior, and have improved self-regulation and decision-making skills. 

Key individuals and organizations committed to mental health promotion from across the Atlantic Region have been invited to participate in the Think Tank. The two and a half day event will introduce the PATHS curriculum, and together we will develop recommendations for scaling up social and emotional learning in Atlantic Canada. The event will provide opportunities to increase understanding of the implementation and impact of the PATHS curriculum, to brainstorm on provincial and regional strategies for scaling up SEL policy and programs, and it will create a network of people to support the Scaling Up Project throughout the Atlantic Region.

Important to this work is the assessment of the current environment of mental health promotion in Canada and the Atlantic Region. Bringing people together from each province is critical to the dialogue. The Think Tank holds promise of moving mental health promotion to a higher level of program and policy priority in many sectors, and we look forward to sharing the recommendations and results that emerge from our time at White Point. Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks!

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