Extending the Child and Youth Mental Health Information Network

With the increased understanding of child and youth mental health problems as a barrier to student achievement, and an increased legislative mandate for school boards to ensure the healthy growth and development of their students, many educators and school boards are seeking evidence-based information about child and youth mental health.

 

Project Category:
Exploiting available research more effectively
Topic Area:
Health
Ministry Priority
(2011-2013):
Equity, Engagement
Project Lead(s):
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Brief Background:
With the increased understanding of child and youth mental health problems as a barrier to student achievement, and an increased legislative mandate for school boards to ensure the healthy growth and development of their students, many educators and school boards are seeking evidence-based information about child and youth mental health.
Research Context:
There is a strong link between emotional well-being and student achievement (Kessler, Foster, Saunders, & Stang, 1995). One in five students experiences a mental health disorder that interrupts their social and academic functioning (Waddell & Shepherd, 2002). To enhance equity in educational outcomes, school boards must respond to the needs of this segment of the school-aged population.
Knowledge Mobilization Activities:
KNAER funding will provide the means and opportunity to exploit existing knowledge and ensure the rapid dissemination of this research to educators and policy makers in two ways: (1) through the establishment of a community of practice for educators who are interested in child and youth mental health; and (2) through the development and piloting of implementation strategies for a new resource: “Making a Difference: An Educators Guide to Child and Youth Mental Health”.
The community of practice will be developed through existing networks and partnerships, as well as direct invitation to school boards across Ontario. The community will have the opportunity to communicate regularly (through meetings, conference calls, social media, etc.) and will identify common questions or issues related to implementing evidence-based interventions focused on student mental health, and at improving educator mental health literacy. This information will be used to prepare summaries of relevant research related to these issues and questions. An additional product will also be created, to be shared with other educators. The community will also provide an opportunity for the development of new research questions for research partners.
In addition, the community of practice has identified the objective of mobilizing an existing resource (“Making a Difference…”) in the public and separate school boards in Hamilton, Haldimand-Norfolk-Brant, and Waterloo by working with SSL groups in other communities to offer advice and assistance in implementing the guide. Information about enablers and barriers to implementing the guide will be collected and used to inform future implementation of this resource.
In addition to the knowledge mobilization activities inherent in this project (the development, training, and dissemination of high-quality child and youth mental health information), we will produce an educator-friendly report about the project.
Outcomes:
This proposal will exploit current research and knowledge and will connect school boards, educators, and child and youth mental health experts to effectively share and implement interventions that help educators understand, identify, and educate children and youth with mental health problems.