Summer Institute 2014 - Another Success!

Meagan Colenutt, Project Manager on September 15, 2014

On August 21 & 22, over 200 teachers, school counsellors, principals, district staff, parents, students and mental health professionals came together at the University of British Columbia to attend the fifth annual Summer Institute: Promoting Mental Health in BC Schools. Despite the educational climate in BC at the moment, there was a fantastic turnout and inspiring dialogue from attendees from across the province!

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

Dr. Mark Greenberg, the opening keynote speaker, spoke to the resilience factors that help promote and create wellbeing for children and youth. He highlighted five key factors:

  • Healthy Caring Relations with Peers and Adults
  • Self-Control/Emotion Regulation
  • Building Attention and Learning Capacity
  • Creating Safe, Welcoming, Caring Schools
  • A Sense of Belonging and Meaning

The school professionals, parents, youth, and health professionals who attended the Summer Institute truly felt like a community, shared stories of how they ally around children and youth, and are doing their best to provide positive school experiences for young people-all of which I think fall within these five factors Dr. Greenberg addressed. I was encouraged and inspired but what is being done in schools and communities throughout BC to enhance resiliency and connectedness.

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

  • Excellent presentation on "Prevention" from Dr. Greenberg on day 1, in addition to other material covered, and the emphasis on a POSITIVE approach to personal development and health ("what can I/we do?") versus a negative one ("what must we avoid/stop").
  • We are each a stepping stone in someone's life. Always be ready to be useful for anyone you interact with.
  • The Summer Institute provided me with renewed energy for this next year, affirming what I do and getting a few more tools.
  • Collaboration and opportunity for families and educators to be in the same room to discuss the needs of children, youth and families was fantastic.
  • I truly loved that it was interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral. This is the ONLY way to achieve effective outcomes! No one is an island and no-one has all the answers. We MUST work together.

The metaphor of Stepping Stones and how they can be used both for moving forward and for rest until ready was explored– this challenged participants to reflect on how they could be stepping stones for others and identify individuals who may have been stepping stones for them. I hope participants were able to brainstorm and share with others the role of stepping stones in their lives as we move into a new school season.

Thank you to everyone who supported the Summer Institute this year, particularly our sponsors Pacific Blue Cross and the BC Mental Health Foundation. 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 are available online through the Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre website on the Summer Institute page

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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.