Summer Institute 2012 – A Smashing Success!

Kiera on September 05, 2012

On August 23 & 24, over 250 teachers, school counsellors, principals, district staff, parents, students and mental health professionals came together at the University of British Columbia to attend the third annual Summer Institute: Promoting Mental Health in BC Schools. After much planning and preparation the event went off without a hitch!

The presenters and facilitators were dynamic, the participants were engaged and the energy for the entire 2 day conference was positive, open and inspiring.

I often think about how much teachers and school professionals are asked to do. Schools are where children and youth are, where they can be reached, and as a result, schools are where many people try to reach them. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be pulled in all sorts of different directions. But the school professionals, parents, youth, and health professionals who attended truly felt like a community, allied around children and youth, and doing their best to provide positive school experiences for young people.

There were so many highlights, but here are a select few that stand out for me:

  • I was expecting a formal academic presentation from our first keynote speaker Dr. Stuart Shanker. Instead, he got up on stage, grabbed a chair, and sat down to have a conversation with the audience. He was incredibly thoughtful and exciting to listen to, and he gave us some unique perspectives on how self-regulation impacts learning (he also gave us a lot of books for our reading lists!)
  • The youth and parent speakers had powerful stories to share about their experiences with school connectedness and mental health challenges in the school system. It was an honour to be present to hear them share their stories and to participate in a dialogue around personal and shared experiences.
  • Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Dr. Stan Kutcher and Dr. Lynn Miller also gave thought provoking presentations. The audience seemed enthralled by the speakers, not wanting the story to end.
  • The resource fair was especially vibrant - community organizations such as Action Schools! BC, the BC Partners for Mental Health & Addictions Information, and Engaged Immigrant Youth rarely had a spare moment – the participants were eager to hear about what information and resources they could take back to their classrooms and schools.

One theme of the event was Connections – and it was the connections between the participants, presenters, community organizations and everyone involved that made the 2012 Summer Institute such a huge success. I hope participants were able to find one thing to take away with them as we head into the school season.

Thank you to everyone who supported the Summer Institute this year. We are looking forward to hearing feedback from participants to help us plan for future events.

Event materials including PowerPoint presentations and a recording of the 2 day event will soon be available online through the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre website – we’ll be providing updates on the availability of these materials through our social media channels, so be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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BC Children's Hospital

This is an agency of Provincial Health Services Authority, providing provincial tertiary mental health services to the citizens of British Columbia. Programs include: Adult Tertiary Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatric Services, Child & Adolescent Mental Health, Women’s Reproductive Mental Health, as well as the Provincial Specialized Eating Disorders Program for children and youth located at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) is one of six health authorities – the other five health authorities serve geographic regions of BC.

Ministry of Health

British Columbia Ministry of Health

RBC Children's Mental Health Project

RBC Children’s Mental Health Project is RBC's cornerstone “health and wellness” pillar; RBC Children’s Mental Heath Project is a multi-year philanthropic commitment to support community-based and hospital programs that reduce stigma, provide early intervention and increase public awareness about children’s mental health issues.

BC Children's Hospital Foundation

Through a wide range of fundraising events and opportunities, The BC Children's Hospital Foundation is united with its donors by a single, simple passion - to improve the health and the lives of the young people who enter BC Children's Hospital every day.