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Welcome to HC Link's blog! Our blog will provide you with useful information on healthy community topics, news, and resources, as well as information on HC Link’s events, activities, and resources. Our bloggers include HC Link staff and consultants, as well as our partnering organizations, clients, and experts in the health promotion field.

Please note: opinions in posts are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of HC Link or our funder.

We look forward to engaging in thought-provoking conversation with you!

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What Program Components Are Effective for Promoting Mental Health in the Early Years, School Years, and Transition-Age Youth?

By Jewel Bailey, CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre

May 1-7 2017, is Mental Health Awareness Week. This annual event provides another opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of good mental health and what is required to achieve and maintain positive mental well-being. The Evidence Exchange Network within the Provincial System Support Program at CAMH, produced three evidence briefs that examine program components that are effective for promoting positive mental health in the early years, school years, and among transition-age youth. Selected findings for the three groups are presented below:

earlyyearsEarly Years

Home visiting and group-based parenting programs were identified as priority areas for this evidence brief since evidence demonstrates a high return on investment for these two types of interventions.

    1. Program components associated with effective home visiting include: utilizing appropriately and/or professionally trained home visitors, applying a clearly articulated theory of change, having more intensive programs, and teaching parents responsive parenting, behavior management, and problem-solving.

    2. Components associated with effective group-based parenting programs include: teaching parents emotional communication skills, disciplinary consistency, positive interactions with the child in non-disciplinary ways, and requiring parents to practice new skills with their own child during group sessions.

Read the Early Years Evidence Brief

schoolagedSchool-Aged Children

  1. Social emotional learning (SEL) programs are one category of mental health promotion interventions that foster the core competencies and skills to help children and adolescents manage emotions, relationships, and conflict.

  2. Components of effective SEL programs include using a whole school approach, SAFE (sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) components, interactive training methods, involvement of parents, and a focus on skill development. Programs delivered across all school levels have shown to be effective, though it is inconclusive whether longer programs are more beneficial than shorter programs.

Read the School Years Evidence Brief

 

tayTransition-Age Youth (TAY)

  1. Mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention supports for TAY must include interventions both on campus and in community-based settings that are diverse, integrated, and comprehensive.

  2. Skills-based programs that incorporate supervised behavior practice and feedback, such as those aimed at building cognitive-behavioral skills, mindfulness, or relaxation, have been shown to be effective at reducing levels of psychological distress among post-secondary students.

  3. Early evidence has demonstrated that integrated service centers, on campus or in the community, are effective at increasing access to mental health supports for TAY and somewhat effective at reducing psychological distress.

Read the TAY Evidence Brief


Findings from these evidence briefs informed the recommendations presented to the Ontario government by the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council in its 2016 Annual Report.

 

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Improving Primary Health Care by Reducing Stigma – Webinar Summary

By Jewel Bailey, CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre


The stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness and substances use challenges experience on a daily basis can lead them to avoid seeking help. When it occurs in a primary healthcare setting it can be felt even more deeply, and can have especially negative effects.

camhblogoct25

Primary healthcare providers can play a key role—they can cause stigma or be powerful agents against stigmatization.

In 2010, the CAMH Office of Transformative Global Health (OTGH) partnered with three Toronto-based Community Health Centres to develop and implement an anti-stigma, pro-recovery intervention among primary healthcare providers. On September 29, 2016, the CAMH Provincial System Support Program and OTGH hosted a webinar: “Improving Primary Health Care by Reducing Stigma.”

This webinar explored:

  • the development of the anti-stigma, pro-recovery project

  • the components of the intervention;

  • changes in attitudes and behaviours of the providers who took part in the pilot project.

The presenters were:

  • Akwatu Khenti, Director, OTGH, CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research

  • Jaime Sapag, Project Scientist, OTGH, CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research

  • Sireesha Bobbili, Special Advisor/Project Coordinator, CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research


Watch the webinar and see the presentation slides

 

 

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New CAMH Survey Results Show 10 Per Cent Increase in Psychological Distress among Ontario Students

By Monica Nunes, CAMH HPRC

 

OSDUHS changesThe Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) has just released its biannual report on student mental health and well-being in Ontario. The data derives from the 2015 edition of the Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey (OSDUHS), the longest running school survey of adolescents in Canada, and one of the longest-running surveys in the world.

The 2015 results show that more than one in three – an estimated 328,000 Ontario students in grades 7 to 12 report moderate-to-serious psychological distress, a 10 per cent jump since 2013. Girls are twice as likely as boys to experience psychological distress.

Other striking trends include:


Mental health

  • Seventeen per cent of students rate their mental health as fair or poor, a 6 per cent increase since 2013
  • The number of students prescribed medication for anxiety , depression or both in the previous year doubled since 2001
  • View an infographic on mental health trends 


Screen time and social media use

  • Overall, screen time and social media use is high. More than half (63 per cent) of students spend 3 or more hours per day in front of TV or tablet/computer in their free time.
  • Eighty-six per cent of students visit social media sites daily and 16 per cent spend five or more hours on social media per day
  • View an infographic on screen time and social media use trends


Video gaming

  • An estimated 122,600 (13 per cent) of students in Ontario report symptoms of a video gaming problem which includes associated preoccupation, loss of control, withdrawal and disregard for consequences
  • The percentage of students indicating a video gaming problem in 2015 (13 per cent) is significantly higher than the percentage in 2007 (9 per cent), the first year of monitoring
  • Problem video gaming is especially prevalent among boys (20 per cent) rather than girls (5 per cent)


The Provincial System Support Program and the Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) at CAMH have been maintaining a strong knowledge exchange partnership with the OSDUHS research team to share this evidence widely. Most recently, PSSP hosted the first webinar in a two part-series sharing the OSDUHS results on drug use among students which you can check out on EENet’s website. Part two of the webinar series is scheduled for October 5th from 11:00am-12:30pm and will focus on how program planners and policy makers use the OSDUHS data. Stay tuned for registration information! In the New Year, PSSP and EENet will also host webinars focusing on the mental health and well-being results.

Access the full OSDUHS mental health and well-being report: http://www.camh.ca/en/research/news_and_publications/ontario-student-drug-use-and-health-survey/Documents/2015%20OSDUHS%20Documents/2015OSDUHS_Detailed%20MentalHealthReport.pdf

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Mental Health Week Gets Loud!

By Monica Nunes, CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre

This week Canada is celebrating both Mental Health Week and Children’s Mental Health Week using the hashtag #GETLOUD to raise awareness about mental health and mental illness. Mental Health Week celebrations have traditionally been an opportunity to impact stigma by talking candidly about mental illness. These same celebrations are now evolving beyond conversations of illness to also consider the role of mental health and well-being in our lives. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented that Mental Health Week is an opportunity to not only support those struggling with mental illness but also encourage conversations “...about what mental health is and what we can do to increase our collective well-being”.

Recognizing mental health as a positive concept and a resource for living creates space for promoting behaviours, activities, programs and strategies meant to improve resilience and well-being. This is a sentiment that is growing in Ontario. For instance, Phase 2 of Ontario’s Mental Health and Addictions Strategy includes an area of focus on mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention.

CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre has also created a video called Finding a Shared Language (ENG)/(FR) that reflects the growing importance of mental health promotion in our communities. The video outlines simple strategies for promoting mental health individually and in our communities by:

• Knowing and accepting that everyone in faces daily challenges
• Getting involved in your community and giving back
• Supporting and including different types of people in your community

Promoting Mental Health: Finding a Shared Language from CAMH HPRC on Vimeo.


These tips are just one way to #GETLOUD about mental health. How do you plan to join the conversation this week? Check out the events on the websites below to get you started!

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Canadian Mental Health Association
Mental Health Commission of Canada

For mental health promotion resources, check out the CAMH HPRC website!

 

 

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Thinking about Mental Health Promotion during Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 4-10 2015 marks Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). MIAW is a time to reflect on, and discuss, how mental illness and substance use disorders may have an impact on our lives and communities. Part of these discussions might focus on sharing personal experiences of struggle, hope and recovery. MIAW is also an important time to consider the central role that mental health plays in our lives.

Mental health is increasingly known as something more than the absence of mental illness. The Public Health Agency of Canada describes mental health as "the capacity of each and all of us to feel, think, act in ways that enhance our ability to enjoy life and deal with the challenges we face. It is a positive sense of emotional and spiritual well-being that respects the importance of culture, equity, social justice, interconnections and personal dignity." In this way, mental health is a concept that relates to our ability to manage life in ways that help us cope with stressors and reach our goals. Just like our physical health, we all have mental health. Mental health also requires an inclusive environment where we feel safe and are accepted for our differences. A safe and inclusive environment creates space for us to feel good about ourselves so we can develop positive emotional, spiritual and mental health and reach our full potential. Mental health is something we can all work to promote in ourselves and in our communities.

The CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre recently created a video about mental health promotion. The Public Health Agency of Canada defines mental health promotion as “the process of enhancing the capacity of individuals and communities to take control over their lives and improve their mental health. By working to increase self-esteem, coping skills, social support and well-being in all individuals and communities, mental health promotion empowers people and communities to interact with their environments in ways that enhance emotional and spiritual strength. It is an approach that fosters individual resilience and promotes socially supportive environments”.

Videocamh

 

With this definition in mind, the video outlines the importance of promoting mental health in everyone, even those who may be struggling with mental illness or a substance use disorder. The video shares a fictional story about a woman named Tara who, despite having a diagnosis of mental illness, has good mental health. Although, Tara has been diagnosed with depression – a potentially severe mental illness - her illness is now under control. Tara is on medication and she sees her therapist regularly. She likes her job, feels capable of completing her work, and is able to eat right, sleep well and exercise. She feels comfortable and respected in the places where she lives and works and she feels like the people in her life love her and understand her. By enhancing individual well-being and creating conditions where individuals are safe and respected we can work to promote mental health for everyone.

For more information on MIAW, visit the CAMH MIAW Event Page where you can also learn about in-person and social media events to participate in this week!

You can also learn more about mental health promotion resources and the CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre here: https://www.porticonetwork.ca/web/camh-hprc 

 

 

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