The Lester B. Pearson School Board is presently involved in research in the area of mental health.
Mental Health in the Classroom: Professional Development for School Personnel on the Management and Understanding of Anxiety and Depression in Our Schools
There are many students attending our schools who have to cope on a daily basis with mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. However, teacher/staff education programs do not always provide enough information to teachers or school technicians regarding how they can support and work with these students. The principal goals of the project are to gather information about how these students currently function in the school system and use this information to generate relevant professional development materials for teachers and technicians. The expectation is that these training materials will be disseminated provincially to help enhance teacher and technicians’ knowledge, comfort and competency when working with students who present with anxiety and depression. The project is a collaboration between the Centre of Excellence for Mental Health, Student Service Department, Lester B. Pearson School Board and Dr. Nancy Heath (Heath research team), McGill University who specializes in the area of mental health in the schools.
Two general objectives set by the Ministère de l'Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport are pertinent to and have influenced the development of this project. First is the importance placed on enhancing school success for students with special needs, and second, the priority to improve student retention rates. Therefore, the specific objectives set are as follows: (1) to identify what the training needs of teachers and technicians, via focus groups and a needs assessment (2) to develop and provide training materials (e.g., workshops, online interactive website, online training and manual of resources) based on the results of the focus groups and needs assessment and (3) to evaluate the results and feedback of the training materials in terms of enhanced knowledge, comfort, and competency of school staff. This project will take place with teachers and technicians in elementary and high school.
It is anticipated that this partnership will help improve teachers and technicians’ understanding of, and ability to support students with depression and anxiety in the classroom and larger school setting. Further, training materials will be available in the future to ensure on-going professional development that is useful and relevant.
Participation in the Co-Venture Research Project
Several secondary schools of the Lester B. Pearson School Board are participating in an exciting research project under the leadership of Patricia Conrod, PhD of l’Universite de Montreal. This project aims to investigate the effects of delaying the onset of substance use on adolescent cognitive development.
“StressOFF Strategies: A Stress Management Workshop for Teens” is a school-based workshop designed to help teenagers better understand stress and become familiar with strategies that promote healthy ways of dealing with stress.