DalNews recently profiled Social Work graduate Miriam Laskey, who has coped with a severe mental health disability for much of her adult life, and is now helping others through her work with the Caring and Sharing Social Club – a place for adults with disabilities run by the Canadian Mental Health Association.
On October 6, Dalhousie University offered our first ever depression screening event “Beyond the Blues.” Lynne Robinson (School of Health and Human Performance) was co-chair of the organizing committee and brought together multiple partners from within Dalhousie and the community to deliver the highly successful event. Dalhousie partners included Employee and Organizational Development, the Centre for Learning and Teaching, Live Well at Dalhousie, Counselling Services and the Psychology Department. Outside partners included the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Mental Health Association. The School of Health and Human Performance contributed many student volunteers who valued the experience as part of their education at Dalhousie.
The event was highly successful, with coverage that night by CTV and Global television and DalNews. The activities at the event included a keynote talk by Dalhousie depression researcher Simon Sherry (with estimated attendance around 180) and an opportunity for an informal depression screening. This was followed by a chance to “drop in” to pick up tips on maintaining good mental health and receive a brief free consultation with a psychologist (provided by the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia). Participants included students, staff and faculty. The objectives of the event were to destigmatize mental illness and, in particular, depression; raise awareness of depression as an important issue that affects may of us; encourage good mental health practices and promote early detection and intervention.
Dr. Jean Hughes (Nursing) in collaboration with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Nova Scotia Division, was recently awarded 3.1 million dollars to support a mental health project for school-aged children. The funding will be used in further developing, implementing and evaluating the CMHA’s “Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATH)” Program. As part of the “Improving the Emotional and Social Health of Children in their Community: Implications for Population Health” project, this school-based initiative aims to help children improve their social relations, problem solving skills and academic performance. The project targets children aged 6 to 12, as well as parents, teachers and community partners and will be implemented in schools across Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Alberta.
“Helping to equip children with the ability to deal with difficult situations goes a long way toward improving their mental health” said Dr. Hughes. “It is also important that we help increase awareness among parents, teachers and caregivers about children’s mental health issues and give them the ability to respond appropriately to emotional issues.” Through the Declaration on Prevention and Promotion, Canada’s Ministers of Health have agreed to make health promotion a priority for action. The Government of Canada is committed to working with partners, within and outside the health sector, to design and implement new approaches to promote the health and well-being of Canada’s children and youth.